Tip of the Week: How to Protect Yourself, Your Staff, and Your Kids From Sharing Too Much Online
Attention people of the Internet, October is Cyber Security Month! Make sure that you share this information with everyone on the Internet that you know. In a situation like this, sharing content with everyone to raise awareness of a worthy cause is perfectly fine. Although, what’s not alright is the sharing of your personal information online.
Out of all the different aspects of cyber security that we can hit on, talking about the problem of oversharing is one of the most important because it affects everybody–you, your family, and your employees. The worst place for this problem is on social media, but it extends to anywhere on the Internet where content can be shared and posted. You may know that oversharing personal information can lead to identity theft, but you may not have known that oversharing can also attract cyber bullies and the eyes of your competitors.
Being mindful of what information you share online is the best way to prevent the dangers of oversharing, and the best way to do this is through education. Here are some proven ways that you and others can be intentional about not oversharing:
The alluring thing about social media is that it makes you want to share whatever it is you’re feeling at that very moment. For example, the first thing you see when opening Facebook is the question, “What’s on your mind?” What tends to happen is that, for many workers, their ill feelings about their job are exactly what’s on their mind–and these thoughts find their way to social media. This is a classic example where oversharing can have some dire consequences as far as one’s career goes.
Additionally, an employee who’s used to sharing all the details of their life online may accidentally share company secrets that they’re privy to. What’s worse, their social network may include someone associated with a competitor. This is why you shouldn’t brag about a big sale online until the check has cleared.
For teenagers and Millennials, sharing their personal information on social media is second nature. In fact, they’re probably doing it using apps and in ways that you as a parent may not fully understand (there’s much more to social media than Facebook and Twitter). Young people will want to be mindful of revealing too much information to predators, as well as leaving behind a digital footprint that they’ll regret later.
Unfortunately, the Internet is full of people who would like to do harm to your child. This can come in the form of a classmate who acts as the school’s cyberbully, or even predators who are looking to abduct your kid. Young people especially need to be careful online, and this starts with only befriending and sharing information with people online who they know and trust. Also, another way to prevent your kids from oversharing to the wrong people is to monitor their online activity and educate them on what red flags to watch out for.
Additionally, every career-minded young person needs to be mindful of their “digital footprint.” Today, when a potential employer or educational institution investigates a person’s application, they do more than make phone calls to the listed references, they will also perform and Internet search on the applicant’s name and scan their social media profiles. Therefore, you will want to teach your kids to view their online activities from an employer’s perspective.
Here are five tips from Net Nanny on how you can help monitor your kid’s digital footprint:
- Check their digital trail by searching for them on Google. View the results from a college or employer’s perspective and make sure it coincides with the application.
- Limit profile visibility to friends only.
- Make sure profile photo is appropriate.
- Remove any past Facebook posts from public view.
- Take control of tagging (i.e. don’t allow friends to tag your teen because it is uncontrollable).
One of the biggest risks from oversharing comes from having your identity stolen. Obviously, you’re not dumb enough to post your credit card number online for all to see, but you may be surprised to learn that posting seemingly-innocent information about yourself can actually lead to identity theft. Information like:
- Your mother’s maiden name.
- Your high school.
- Where you got married and where you met your spouse.
- Your favorite hobbies and sports teams.
- The names of your pets and children.
- Your home address (including pictures of your home).
Now, you may be thinking, “What’s wrong with posting fun facts like this?” Well, if you’ve ever forgotten your password for an online account, you may recall that you will be asked intimate questions of yourself like these in order to confirm your identity so you can be sent a new password. A hacker that knows both your account’s username and the answers to these questions will be able to access your account. Don’t be fooled by social media “fun quizzes” that ask these questions under the guise of “How well do you know your friend?”
Following these tips, you will decrease the dangers of oversharing. For more tips on what information you shouldn’t share online, check out https://www.staysafeonline.org, and be sure to subscribe to Resolve I.T.’s blog.