It is a given that pretty much most of us have been living a monastic existence lately. There have not been a lot of social gatherings, going outdoors is still pretty much frowned upon, and people are still in the mindset that staying home is the best way of keeping safe and avoiding the virus. That is well and good and in fact, a lot of people have already shifted a lot of their social activities to fit the “new normal”. Why risk getting infected by meeting up with friends when you can still see them virtually by just setting up virtual meetings? Performers are now holding virtual concerts that you can enjoy and attend wherever you are in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. Now, there is no need to celebrate birthdays with everyone in attendance in a posh venue when you can just post pictures of your celebrations at home on social media.
So, while the world is not particularly active in the social scene, everybody is making up for it by somehow still being very active on social media. There has never been a time when pictures of people being relaxed and chilled at home have been this popular. Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now, Tiktok, everybody is updated on what the viral dance move is, what recipe everybody is following, and if everyone’s plants are still thriving or have they gone dead with people realizing they may not have the green thumb, after all. But then, the bigger question is, is it okay to post everything on social media in the first place?
The question of which can be put on social media and what things should not be shared arises from concerns of privacy. Issues such as identity theft and account hacking among others have been rampant these past few years, yet a lot of us still cannot seem to resist the temptation of oversharing on social media. Somehow, the thrill of gratification brought about by your popularity in your social network is still louder compared to fears of getting duped online. Of course, this should never be the case. So, what personal details should we never post online?
Perhaps one of the most shared information on social media is birthdays. Some post greetings to their friends while some share pictures of birthday bashes. Sharing of birthdays is particularly dangerous because of several reasons, our birthdays being a popular element of our passwords! Even for personal documents like statements of accounts (aka bills) being sent online, default passwords for them from the bank or credit card companies usually come in the form of your last name, birth month, birthday, and birthyear. You are basically welcoming hackers into opening your sensitive documents if your birthday is public knowledge.
If you can’t live without the birthday wishes from friends, family, and connections you don’t even know, then at least hide the year of your birth date. People will still be able to see the month and day, so they’ll still know when your birthday is. Or, you could set your birthday to a day that’s a few days before or after your real birthday. You’ll still get birthday wishes, but won’t be revealing your true birthday.
This was very true BC (before corona), and still very true and dangerous up to now. A lot of people share their vacation destinations in real-time, while they are in a foreign place where credit card hackers can victimize them. Nowadays that more people are at home, people still make careless mistakes like sharing pictures of their house’s front door (where your house number is in big bold numbers) or beside their cars (where cybercriminals can readily see the car’s plate number). Never give geo-specific information or you’ll be sorry.
When you take a picture with your smartphone, you’re probably also recording the exact GPS location of whatever you’re taking a picture of. This process is called geotagging and it’s a thief’s favorite tool.
This is a touchy topic, as a lot of parents tend to overshare their kids’ milestones on social media. Be it their birthdays, their exemplary report cards, or other school information. Parents’ pride in their children is understandable but oversharing on social media needs to stop for the kids’ security. Criminals, be they actual kidnappers or cybercriminals, can easily get clues with anything that parents post about their children on their social media accounts.
According to Common Sense Media, at around 5 years old children start to develop a sense of themselves as individuals and how the rest of the world perceives them. Their privacy becomes more of a concern. They may start to feel embarrassed about the content their parents post about them on social media, especially when it comes to early childhood anecdotes, funny photos, and updates on developmental and behavioral challenges.
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