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  • aaronaisen

Yes, You Can Share Too Much on Social Media

The holidays are here, and those phones are busy. Pictures, pictures everywhere. Whether it is taking pictures at that holiday party or with friends family. Have a cool new gift? Take a picture. Trading in snow for that awesome beachfront villa in the Caribbean? Take a picture and make your friends jealous. There is absolutely nothing wrong with capturing memories through pictures. There is nothing inherently wrong with sharing them on social media (yes, even to make your friends jealous). BUT, remember that when you share, you also open yourself up to potential problems. In today's world, information is power. And the bad guys know that.

For example, when you post that beachfront picture immediately on social media, you are signaling to the world that you are not home. This makes your home a potentially inviting target because the bad guys know you are not home.

Here is another example. Suppose you take family picture, post it, and you tag everyone in the post. Mom, dad, brothers, sisters, cousins, Uncle Bob, et al. That information is very useful for things like password resets. How many security questions ask you for the names of relatives? In that post, you have potentially given someone valuable information.

Identity and cyber thieves love whatever information they can get. And sometimes we voluntarily give it out very innocently. So, the best thing to do sometimes is not post. But....

You still love to post those memories (and make your friends jealous)? There are some basic things you can do to protect yourself if you must post.

  1. First, regularly check your privacy settings. I know, sometimes this can be a moving target as social media companies like to change these and not tell anyone. Limiting who you share your posts with is not a guarantee that a bad guy won't see your post. But, it will make it more difficult for them.

  2. Wait until you get home to post those pictures. (I promise your friends will still be jealous).

  3. Be careful about tagging people in pictures, especially family members. Maybe send the picture to them privately if they want a copy.

  4. Try to avoid posting very specific information about your self. For example, sometimes a security question may ask for the name of your high school or your high school mascot. Just attend a high school reunion? Try to avoid posting "Attended my high school reunion at Anytown High School. Great memories! Go Care Bears!" Instead, try posting (after you get home), "Attended my high school reunion. Great memories!" The first one gives out an incredible amount of detail while the second one offers the same sentiment, but keeps the details to a minimum.

  5. Bonus Tip: Instead of putting down the name of your real high school in the security question, maybe put down a cross-town rival or some school that the bad guys can't guess but that you will remember. You can also do the same for family members, etc.

Take those pictures and preserve those memories! But be careful who you let see them. Sometimes you really can share you much.

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