Social networking: Is your status update also a red flag?

  • Your social media profile that you so religiously update makes you a perfect target for cyber-criminals
  • Think about amount of info you are publishing online; most cyber-crimes can be conducted with guesswork

Social networking: Is your status update also a red flag?IN this digital age when our whole lives are online, it is no surprise that security has become an increasing concern for many. Whilst you're busy worrying about your privacy settings on Facebook and whether your boss is able to see your status updates, there are more pressing issues at hand.
 
Your social media profile that you so religiously update daily with your latest purchases and your check-ins to fancy restaurants makes you a perfect target for cyber-criminals.
 
Think about this. Your real-time updates on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter of your other half working late again will present itself as a perfect opportunity for a crime.
 
After all, it does not take a lot to infer from a well-populated social network account to know you live in say Bangsar, in Kuala Lumpur. And your recent status update on the construction of the MRT that's going on opposite your house makes it easier to narrow down your location.
 
If that's not enough, cyber-criminals can always refer to that photo of your car parked in your driveway to figure out which one is your house. On top of all that, that picture you took outside Putrajaya as you waited for your hubby to finish work is a giveaway that it's going to take a while before he gets home.
 
Another scenario is one that happens one too many times – social media accounts getting hacked.
 
What you might not have realised is that with the amount of information published on your social media profiles, the password recovery functions of many online websites can be easily figured out with answers to questions such as “What is your maiden name?” or “Which kindergarten did you attend?” readily available on our profiles.
 
Social networking: Is your status update also a red flag?Perhaps some of you might argue that your privacy settings protect you from criminals. But how many of you actually know each and every one of your friends on Facebook? How many of you actually go through the trouble of segregating people we add on Facebook according to acquaintances and friends and then filter the information available to these two groups?
 
There's a likely chance that most of us reading this are vulnerable in one way or another.
 
Dhillon Kannabhiran, founder and chief executive officer of Hack In the Box (HITB), offers some advice for netizens out there:
 
“Think about the amount of information you are publishing online and the consequences that follow. Most social media crimes can be accomplished with mere guesswork,” he says.
 
Hack In The Box runs the annual HITB security conference in Kuala Lumpur to increase awareness on digital crimes, data privacy risks and ensuing personal security. This year, HITBSecConf will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur from Oct 16-17.
 
So ladies (and gents!), the next time you decide to publish your personal information, check-in your location or update your status with a “Home alone again” or a “Rushing for an important meeting and nanny was too busy to come over. Hope the kids are okay,” think about who's reading this information.
 
Think about the risk of exposure to you and your loved ones. Last but not least, educate yourselves and the people around you about these risks when you see an all too-revealing status posting, and maybe you can prevent a crime waiting to happen from happening.
 
Beth Samuel is a strategic planner at Splash Interactive, a digital advertising agency. When she’s not solving problems and creating solutions, she spends her time analysing social media trends and identifying engagement opportunities for clients to leverage on.
 
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