It’s so tempting, isn’t it? You have been saving for years to buy your dream car. You gave up a lot to get the money together and now, that sweet ride you have been working so hard to get is just sitting in your driveway in all its glory.
The first thing you want to do now that you have that shaggin’ wagon ready for a night on the town is share it with the whole world on social media. What a great idea! Or not…
Social media is awesome. It gives us a chance to stay connected with family and friends all over the world. Unfortunately, there are others that also have access to what we post online. Not all of whom are friendly.
Given the dangers that can be done, there are certain things we should never share online. Here is a list…
It is a great achievement to finally be able to purchase something you worked for. Of course, you want to share that with your friends and family. At the same time, criminals see it too.
Do you really want potentially thousands of people know that you have a new Mercedes sitting in your garage? Sure, you may only share it with the 150 or so people that follow you on facebook, but what happens when they share it?
The problem with sharing large purchases online is that you could make yourself a target for thieves. If they know you have something worth stealing, you become a much more interesting mark.
Who doesn’t love getting birthday wishes from their friends and admirers? It’s nice to know that people are thinking of you on your birthday. What about your kid’s birthday parties? We have to let everyone know that Johnny is turning 6 in two days.
Birthdate is a jackpot for cybercriminals because it is commonly used to confirm your identity for financial and other sensitive transactions. And just because your kids are under 18 does not make their birthdate safe. Kids have either a clean credit profile or none at all which make it much easier for identity thieves to create one. In addition, very few people monitor credit reports for children because they are not expecting them to be used.
Our willingness to share sensitive information online is a boon to identity thieve which is why identity theft, especially using the identities of our children, is a rapidly growing crime.
This one should be a no-brainer but the allure of social media and our eagerness to share often gets the best of us.
When you tell the world that you will be away, you make your homes a much more attractive target to criminals that would also love to take a vacation… with the money they get from selling your 65″ flatscreen.
If you want to tell your friends about your upcoming trip to Disney, wait until you get back and share all the memories you made or share your vacation plans in a manner that isn’t so public. You can always post that picture of you giving Mickey Mouse bunny ears when you return.
This one is less obvious but is never the less an important one to remember. Someone with access to your cell phone number can do a lot of damage. For an example just watch the video below…
Yeah, that can happen. In addition, our mobile numbers are becoming a form of authentication for other services as well. As in the case of the video above, the social engineer used a technique called spoofing to call into the target’s cell phone carrier. This most likely lent significant credibility to her scheme.
If someone that doesn’t already have your phone number really needs to get in touch with you, they can just slide into your DM’s.
Email address is another thing you must be careful of. While most of us are familiar with phishing campaigns, emails are often times tied to account credentials also. If you are on social media, there really is not much need for someone to send you an email anyway.
If you own a business or have another reason why sharing your email would be beneficial, you can set up a free generic email through a provider like Google or Microsoft, or, if you have your own domain, just create a general purpose email such as email@example.com.
Social media is a great tool. To get the most out of it, use it safely. If you have any questions to ask or stories to share, please do so in the comments!
My goal is to arm people with information that will help them and their families stay safe online. If you found this information valuable, please share it so that others may also benefit. Thank you!
Until next time, Cyber Safely!