Reuters recently cited findings from a study by Legal & General, a multinational financial services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. The company was looking into the impact social media has on risk with regard to property and content. The report was called the “Digital Criminal”
Legal & General polled 2,092 people:
- 38%- posted where and when they were going on their next vacation
- 33%- posted where and when they would be on the upcoming weekend
Of 100 “friend requests” sent out during the study
- 13 percent were accepted on Facebook – without any checks.
- 92 percent on Twitter — without any checks.
Obviously Legal & General’s concern is revolves around risk to property and theft as people share way too much information online to include photos of the interior of their homes and valuables.
(More on the Reuters article written by Belinda Goldsmith)
Employees and Family Personal Safety
It goes without saying that broadcasting where we will be or where we presently are at in real time, gives another set of criminals, those that would want to do harm to you, a family member or one of your employees, easy targeting opportunities.
Despite good access control and security which makes your place of work much safer, social media is offering alternate non-worksite targeting venues and opportunities as employees broadcast where they will be and at what times.
A perpetrator might be a disgruntled worker or the batterer of one of your staff. The incidences of opportunistic targeting, which can lead to stalking, also increase with careless use of social networks.
Social Media Security and Safety Tips: Common Sense but Not Commonly Adhered To
- Spend a moment vetting “friend” requests. The fact that you have “mutual friends” with someone you know well means nothing given the information revealed in the above study.
- Never let people know where you are or will be; only where you were of have been! This includes posting photos upon return from an outing or vacation.
- Try and be vague about where you have been and what time you were there. This makes it more difficult for someone to build a predictive profile on your habits and patterns.
- Be cognizant of which photos you are included in and ask friends not to “tag” you.
- Never tag your children in any photos.
- Turn off the GPS feature on your Smart Phone before you use its camera. If not, the coordinates of where the photo was taken will remain embedded in the image code.
- Think like a criminal. The layout of your home and valuables that appear in the background of any photo are useful pieces of information.
- Be sure to disable the GPS feature on individual apps as well. If not, your location will be broadcast with each post or Tweet once again leaving a convenient trail as to your patterns and habits.
- Ask yourself who benefits when you “Check in” via a location based app? We have polled audiences during our trainings. 95% of them say they really don’t care where you are and what you are doing. The only people that care as much as you are the criminal element mining social networking platforms for easy targets.
- Is the “Out of Office” reply really necessary? It is often the data point that alerts prying eyes to start tracking you online, since they know you are not at work.