With the recent discovery of the vulnerability within Facebook, everyone is taking a second look at their social media footprint. Education is the first step in securing your information. Just because you know your friends and relatives on Facebook and Instagram, you don’t know their followers, and you just shared your information with them. There are millions of people that will see your information, so how do you protect what you share?
Your Personal Identifying Information (PII) should never be shared with others online. Ever. What is PII? The National White Collar Crime Center defines personal identifying information as, “information which can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity such as their name, social security number, biometric records, etc.” The NW3C goes on to tell us to NEVER share:
Social Security Number Home address Date or place of birth Full name Mother’s maiden name
If a social media site requires banking information, social security information, or other biometric data, you should avoid these sites. To better explain biometric data, smart phones use your fingerprint to unlock the app; this is biometrics. Facial recognition is another form of biometrics, and this data has been collected by social media sites. Social networks do not guarantee the security of the information that is provided by the user. When you use, let’s say, Facebook, 3rd party companies pay Mark Zuckerberg for access to user data for marketing and analytical purposes.
Nothing is private on social media. When you choose to log into these sites, post your photos, discussions, or chats, you have zero expectation of privacy. Anyone who has fallen victim of a screen grab knows this. Anyone can be a friend or a follower on social media, but that doesn’t mean they should be. Do a privacy audit regularly to see who has access to what information. Look at your profile as a visitor to see it how others see it. Determine if what you’re posting is appropriate for your audience.
Keep in mind what you say is a representation of not just you, but those you represent. If you’re wearing a logo of your company or organization, and you’re bad mouthing your boss, you might not want to click, Submit. Jokes aren’t always funny, and they can jeopardize your career. Your posts are also representations of who you are, and will influence your friends and followers’ perception of you.
Tagging your location is considered one of the most dangerous things people do on social networking today, especially when they tag their home location. Never tell when you’re on vacation, or where you’re going. Save the updates for when you get back. I’m sure none of your friends will break into your house, but their roommate might, and telling them you’re in Hawaii for 10 days lets them know they have plenty of time to clean out your house before you realize they were there.
Common sense goes a long way in protecting ourselves on social media. If you wouldn’t tell a total stranger what you’re about to post on Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, or Periscope, you most likely shouldn’t hit submit. The Internet is forever.
We are here to serve and protect you, our neighbors and friends. Thank you for the honor of doing so.
Sincerely, Sheriff Marty Boyd