By now, we all think we know how to keep our personal information safe online, right? There have been so many stories and instances of problems that at this point every one of us feels like only the young or gullible fall into digital traps.
But the truth is most of us are not internet security experts, and instead are just regular folks who want to enjoy our online experiences.
While we consider certain safety measures we don’t think of everything, which is where hackers come in.
Remember, hackers would not do what they do if it wasn’t effective, so even though we think we are doing everything right there are still things we can do better. Unless, of course, you want to be their next victim.
It seems kind of ironic, hackers informing everyone else how to not let them in. But there are some who are known as “white hat hackers,” who are able to hack into places but do so in order to provide security assessments.
Obviously hackers know what works for them and what doesn’t, and therefore understand how to stop people like them. While there are good guys in the hacking industry, there are plenty of bad.
So, what shouldn’t you do? Here are some tips.
1. Tell the kids this one
Remember the excitement you had over finally getting your driver’s license? Or when your child passed that test and was now able to hit the road?
Well, social media has made sharing the joy with others easy to do. At the same time, that can make it simple for hackers.
The last thing you want to do is share a photo with the new driver’s license in it because that little card contains so much important information. Full name, date of birth, home address — it’s all there, and all useful to hackers.
2. Keep your life events to yourself
There’s no problem with friends and family knowing where you live. After all, they’ll have to if you ever want them to visit or send you mail.
But sharing a photo of your new place along with a house key, as many do, is a bad idea. Unbeknownst to many, photos tend to geo-tag their location, which would let hackers know where your house is, and a copy of your key can be easily made off of a photo.
3. Know what is really showing up in photos
Another thing hackers will take advantage of is employees who take photos without any regard for what else may be in the picture. Sensitive information such as passwords or other data on whiteboards, monitors and phones may be in plain sight because the only people who should be seeing it are employees.
It’s an easy thing to not think about, especially when taking a selfie. But your surroundings could reveal more than you realize, and with the right information a hacker can get past security and find their way into a network or system.
4. There’s a lot of data hidden in ordinary places
Along those lines, it’s also a terrible idea to post a photo of a paycheck. Sure you may be proud of it, but there is enough information listed on one to give a hacker plenty of opportunity to make your life worse.
So if you get a check, don’t worry about sharing it with others. There’s just too much that can go wrong by making a seemingly innocuous and celebratory decision.
5. The devil is in the details
Not surprisingly, many of these issues would not exist if not for social media. Who would you share these photos with if not for places like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter?
The problem is while much of what we put on the sites is probably not a concern, the ease in which we can post makes it more likely that we’ll end up providing information that we shouldn’t.
Facebook is one of the worst for it, actually, because it compiles massive amounts of data and information. When it comes to passwords many of us choose names, streets and words from our lives, all of which may be found on our pages.
Put it all together and…
When you look at it all, what you get is a warning about over-sharing. Not just over-sharing, but making public information that has no business being seen by others.
While you may want to show off certain things and celebrate various accomplishments, or maybe even just show a picture of you having a good time at work, be careful about what information is being provided in the photo.