Oversharing on Facebook Risks Your Online Security in 4 Ways
Your adorable cat. Hilarious poolside antics on vacation. Your Grandma’s birthday party. Sometimes, we just have to share that picture or update on Facebook. You probably don’t see anything wrong with this. After all, none of these subjects are offensive, hurtful to your reputation or overly embarrassing – right? However, these “simple” shares on Facebook could be doing some serious damage to your online account security.
4 ways you are oversharing on Facebook
- Status & profile updates
It may seem like a no-brainer, but Facebook is an open community. If you post a status update, don’t be surprised if people unrelated to the intended audience see or comment on it. Profile details like marital status, employment status or year of birth can be accessed and, if you post your email address, expect for that to show up in searches too. Think about all the little breadcrumbs you are leaving for potential cybercriminals, or, (we hate to say it) malicious – or hacked – Facebook friends who just need to see that picture of your bridesmaid to access your email account and successfully answer the security question. Hongkiat lists some essential Facebook etiquette rules that we’ve adapted to guard against privacy risks:
- Keep private details and specific contact information off public walls and use direct message instead if you must communicate over Facebook.
- Before you post, think about how it might affect your privacy and that of others who might be connected to the information.
- If you have personal news to share – pick up the phone and make a real connection. You have the right to ask others to not share the news on Facebook, if you’d prefer to keep it offline.
We would add – be careful about posting when and where you will be leaving on vacation (especially if you’ll have limited access to email and/or your regular life) as this can give would-be hackers an obvious catalyst for making a move.
- Your circle of friends
Speaking of unsavory acquaintances, when was the last time you took a critical look at your list of friends and followers? As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t divulge all of the information you post on Facebook to said “friend” if you met them on the street, then it’s time to remove them from your circle. If you insist on keeping distant acquaintances as connections, segment your Facebook friends into lists and create privacy settings to limit them from seeing various parts of your profile and updates that don’t concern them.
Tagging friends and family on uploaded Facebook photos without discretion can extend the visibility of the photos, making it harder for you to know just exactly when, where and who can see them. We leave a lot of personal and security clues in our photos because they often relate to important moments and people in our lives. According to social tracking hubs Buffersocial and Kissmetrics, photo updates get 53% more likes and 104% more comments than text-based updates. In fact, photos account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. If you tag 60 attendees on your grandma’s birthday party photo album, and they all like and share the updates where you outline her life’s story and accomplishments (including her maiden name, place and date of birth, etc.), just imagine the size of the digital footprint you’ve created!
- Privacy settings
Unfortunately, Facebook won’t compensate you for all the hours you put into learning and implementing the detailed security settings for your Facebook profile. However, neglecting to put in the security leg work can cost you dearly. An easy way to stay updated is to follow along with YouTube video tutorials in side-by-side browser windows with your Facebook profile – just pause and re-start the video as you complete each step! Here are a couple videos we like that touch on the latest 2015 Facebook privacy setting updates:
Oversharing can be easily mitigated by putting in these top-level security measures.
Plus, 1 easy way to protect your online security…
Make sure your usernames, passwords and security measures are completely unrelated to your real-life identity details. A free and easy way to do this is to use the SpeedyPassword password manager. It will create and store unique, truly secure username and password combinations for all of your online accounts, and back them up with a Recovery Image (instead of questions) that only you know. All of this is protected by a strong Master Password that has no relation whatsoever to your cat, your trip to Hawaii or dear, old Grandma. Beware the overshare!
June 30, 2015 / By: Leah