Cyber Security 101

Always protect your information, everywhere!

Always protect your information, everywhere!

As we are well into the 21st century, many people’s lives seem to revolve around the internet and social networking. While social networking can be fun and allows many people to connect with each other, it can unfortunately be very dangerous. Everyone should follow one simple rule of thumb: if you wish to keep your private information secure on social media sites, you must hide your phone number, address, the school you attend, and other private information. However, what most people do not realize is that may not be enough.  Some of it may even be out of control, especially regarding the students under the age of eighteen. This happens mostly when parents request their child to be on their friends list. Even though they have little information on their profile, are they safe from cyber stalkers? Not even in the slightest.

Most people do not have their profile view settings to private.  This allows anyone to view their profile, which is mostly the point of social networks; however, also allows anyone to simply look up their name on the internet. In addition, with the creations of yellow pages and white pages, anyone over eighteen is searchable and easily located. If someone is under the age of 18, they are exempt from their information appearing on these sites; however, their parents are not. Thankfully it is very simple to remove yourself from these apps.

In addition, posting videos via Smartphone can also be a problem. In a recent study FDLE Cyber crime investigators report that, “every time a consumer posts a smart phone photo to sites like Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and yahoo,” (don’t forget twitter and Facebook) “that photo is “tagged” with an electronic finger-print packed with information that could lead a thief or predator to your child’s school, playground, or even your home.” What happens is when you take a picture with your smart phone, your phone labels the photo with a GPS grouping system. This becomes a problem when posting a photo because that information transfers over. An easy solution is to go to the phone’s settings and turn of GPS tracking.

Another way to protect yourself is to watch who you ‘friend’. People can get multiple friend requests a day, some from friends of friends, and others from distant ones, and sometimes complete strangers. Try to not friend anyone you do not know. Other people may have an ulterior motive for ‘friending’ you. Sadly, these ‘people’ can exist within the ranks of your own friends, which is even more of a reason to limit who you friend.

Unsecured information on social networking sites is searchable on the internet, but that is not the only way people can find you. Any account, profile, or data that is saved via internet can be searchable. For example, concerning gamers on PC or Console; any of their online game data is posted via the gaming site by a search of their username, so try to create a username that is not widely associated with you. Also, try not to use the same password for every account made. Another simple way to prevent a severe case of cyber stalking is to simply delete your Facebook, delete your white/yellow pages information, wipe your digital footprint as clean as possible, and take a walk. Although this might not be the most entertaining solution, it might be better to be safe than sorry.