Online Security: Things you Know but Don’t Change

By Romane

Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 11.05.31 AM(Christianne Nates) – photo credit

Every day 2.77 billion people are active on social media. Knowing what dangers can occur to us, why does it seem like we don’t do anything about it? We need to be aware of the dangers. We need to stop being so comfortable with this platform. We need to see the scary reality of social media. 

We are knowledgeable about the fact that there are hackers and stalkers that can be out there creeping on our page. We are aware that we have to be careful about not oversharing and making sure our security settings are put on private. Still, are we educated enough? We still have social media. And still, we keep updating our whereabouts. We underestimate our presence and value to the outsiders. Due to that, we get careless. Careless to the fact that we don’t think before posting a picture that might be risky. The more you post, the more information is out there. The point I’m getting across isn’t to delete all media platforms, no. The main idea is to be cautious. Do you really know each and every person you follow on Instagram? Do you follow people that are friends of friends? In our minds, it’s “not that big of a deal” or “it can’t harm me”. 

Through the use of our social media, one of the big issues that occur frequently is hacking. A report from the University of Phoenix states around ⅔ of all US adults have had accounts hacked on media. Once you post something on social media, it’s never completely deleted. Hackers have tons of ways to get to your identity whether it’s by posting intriguing ads on your page, or sending spam emails for you to click on. For example, if you’ve used your social media to comment on retailers, restaurants or services, hackers have access to your browsing and shopping history. Basically, once they’re in, your contacts are all theirs too. Based on George Beall, a writer from the TNW, (technology news website), says that however, the laws are becoming more aggressive towards the different social media platforms and companies will try to protect our data better. Yet there is no protection from the blackmail that occurs on these platforms. 

Now listen. Our behavior alters once a bad experience has occurred to us. Essentially, most of us haven’t had an awful experience with media. Because of that, we ignore the “what if” thoughts and tell ourselves that something as such can simply “never happen to us”.   

Over school breaks many students and teachers travel. We love sharing the places we visit. The majority of students represent this by using the Snapchat geo filters or putting a location on an Instagram post. We trust social media. However, is there a possibility that we trust it too much? Suddenly we make accounts for a countless number of different platforms, we become a public figure. With 191 million daily users on snapchat, (according to Snapchats most recent report), the majority have snapmap activated. This feature shows people’s live location, “giving your location to a precise pinpoint on a map”. This could cause situations such as thieves realizing you aren’t home and taking advantage of that to steal your belongings. Think that’s a little exaggerated? Remember that a single post can show your wealth and things you may have that a thief could be interested in. It exposes your luxuries and expenses. A recent survey shows that in the UK, 4 out of 5 of burglars said they had used social media to break in. As well as, the 2019 Malaysian Crime & Safety Report states that “thieves most often target properties while tenants are away”. Don’t share your location or your upcoming vacations ! 

Social media. Ah. 

A technology that has become a new trend in today’s society. There are risks and as an individual, it’s necessary to know how to use it with responsibility and awareness.

 

Work cited:

Alanloughnane1. “Snapchat’s New Feature Is Not Only Creepy, It’s Dangerous.” JOE.ie, JOE, 3 July 2017, www.joe.ie/tech/snapchats-feature-creepy-dangerous-593897.

Beall, George. “How Hackers Are Using Social Media to Hack.” The Next Web, 23 Aug. 2017, thenextweb.com/contributors/2017/08/23/hackers-using-social-media-hack/.

“Burglars Using Social Media to Target Victims.” Techday New Zealand, techday.co.nz/story/burglars-using-social-media-target-victims.

Malaysia 2019 Crime & Safety Report, www.osac.gov/Pages/ContentReportDetails.aspx?cid=25848.

Salinas, Sara. “Instagram Stories Has Twice as Many Daily Users as Snapchat – and It Now Has Background Music.” CNBC, CNBC, 28 June 2018, www.cnbc.com/2018/06/28/instagram-stories-daily-active-users-double-snapchats.html.

Seymour, John. “How Often Are Social Media Accounts Hacked?” ZeroFOX, 29 Oct. 2018, www.zerofox.com/blog/often-social-media-accounts-hacked/.

Sukherman, Konstantine. “Your Social Media Accounts Are Putting You at Risk: Here’s Why.” – Adweek, Adweek, 3 May 2018, www.adweek.com/digital/your-social-media-accounts-are-putting-you-at-risk-heres-why/. Accessed 20 Apr. 2019.