In a world where information can travel the globe many times over in mere seconds, allowing too much information to find it’s way online can have devastating and unfortunate consequences for your personal and professional life.
Recently a video went viral featuring a mind reading psychic pulling random participants from the streets of Brussels highlights the dangers of the internet and the state of information sharing online. Participants were led into a large tent to participate on a TV show featuring the world-renowned Dave the Psychic. Dave would hold participant’s hands to feel the energy and then began disclosing personal details such as type of car driven, location of tattoos, bank account number, place of employment, home address and even where their children attended school.
To the participants it seemed that Dave the Psychic was the real deal and possessed a great gift. What participants did not know however is that Dave had a team of internet search experts behind a curtain feeding him information gleaned from the internet in real-time through a hidden ear piece.
Although the intention of the video was meant to be fun and lighthearted the concept behind the video is alarming. Far too much information is shared online via social media, messaging apps and other forms of sharing enabled technologies.
Employers should educate employees on the dangers of sharing company information as well as personal information online. Hackers perform recon on targets and use gathered information to aid them in social engineering, password guessing and other common, yet simple hacking techniques to gain access to employee accounts and company data.
In the same respect parents should educate their children on the unsuspecting dangers and pitfalls of the internet. Seemingly innocent group messages or a social media post can serve as a stepping stone for a predator, allowing them to find a child’s current or future location, find home addresses or other useful information.
In the age of social networks which allows us to share moments of our lives, our opinions, exciting trips and adventures, a particularly delicious dinner or simply a night out with friends. Sometimes we do not realize the potential consequences of sharing too much. In an effort to help you stay safe online ProTechnical would like to share with you these tips from StaySafeOnline.org:
- Privacy and security settings exist for a reason: Learn about and use the privacy and security settings on social networks. They are there to help you control who sees what you post and manage your online experience in a positive way.
- Once posted, always posted: Protect your reputation on social networks. What you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see. Recent research found that 70% of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online.
- Your online reputation can be a good thing: Recent research also found that recruiters respond to a strong, positive personal brand online. So show your smarts, thoughtfulness, and mastery of the environment.
- Keep personal info personal: Be cautious about how much personal information you give out on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit other crimes such as stalking.
- Know and manage your friends: Social networks can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the fun is creating a large pool of friends from many aspects of your life. That doesn’t mean all friends are created equal. Use tools to manage the information you share with friends in different groups or even have multiple online pages. If you’re trying to create a public persona as a blogger or expert, create an open profile or a “fan” page that encourages broad participation and limits personal information. Use your personal profile to keep your real friends (the ones you know trust) more synced up with your daily life.
- Be honest if you’re uncomfortable: If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or you think is inappropriate, let them know. Likewise, stay open-minded if a friend approaches you because something you’ve posted makes him or her uncomfortable. People have different tolerances for how much the world knows about them respect those differences.
- Know what action to take: If someone is harassing or threatening you, remove them from your friends list, block them, and report them to the site administrator.
- Own your online presence: When applicable, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
- Post only about others as you have them post about you. The Golden Rule applies online as well.