Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn. These and many others are all online social networking sites that can lead to lots of sharing and fun, but also carry risks.
Online social networks are not harmless. Anyone participating in a social network online assumes some risk of becoming a victim of a con artist or other criminal. This doesn’t mean don’t participate. It’s part of our society and in some cases an important part of business. It’s fine to use it. Just be aware of the risks and do what it takes to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
It’s of significant note that once you put something on the Internet, it is on there forever. It never really disappears and there is nothing preventing your connections from sharing. Once that happens, you lose control of it. You cannot remove or delete it or if you can, it will not be easy or fast. If someone in their network shares it, it will crawl even further into the Internet and there really is little to nothing you can do about it.
Therefore, always know who you are giving access to your personal information and if you don’t want them to share something, ask them not to or just don’t post it. In addition, keep in mind that what you post can reflect on your business relationships as well.
Pay attention to who wants to follow, friend, or share with you. Often cybercriminals will try to connect with people in order to learn about them, bring them into confidence, and then scam them. Often this will come in the form on attachments or links passed on once you are “friends” with that person.
Any information found on the Internet may be used against you for nefarious purposes, so always think about what you post. Hackers of all types troll social networking sites to put together collections of information on specific targets. The information may be used for something completely unrelated to social media, but can do a lot of damage. Besides putting yourself in physical danger your information may be used to create phishing messages and send emails to people who know you including your co-workers. Included in the messages could be malware. Once a link or attachment is clicked, it could unleash something nasty on the network and no one wants to be responsible for that.
A good example where criminals will often go to learn important information about you is LinkedIn. This social networking site is a great way to form business relationships but is also often used by criminals to learn more about an organization’s personnel. For example, LinkedIn can provide a would-be criminal with the employee names, job positions, job responsibilities and even how long an employee has worked at the organization. This information can then be used by the criminal to target “high risk” employees or even be used as part of a larger social engineering campaign.
Because this information is now available to the public, you need to be even more diligent in detecting potentially malicious activity. From suspicious emails to phone calls, just because a person contacting you knows some personal information about you, does not mean they can be trusted. They could have gathered that data from social media sites, so don’t be tricked into giving out even more information or opening links and attachments contained in emails.
Think about how you use social media and how much information you want to share with the world. Because even if you think it’s just your “village” seeing the information, the reality is that it isn’t. It’s everyone, everywhere.
© Copyright 2016 Stickley on Security