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By: Lindsay McKayPublished On: December 7, 2021
Social media is often overlooked when it comes to information security and privacy. With so many people wanting to be influencers the amount of detailed private information being shared non-stop is quite worrisome. Or, for others, it has just become second nature to take a picture of exactly what you are doing, checking in online, and for how long you will be there. The consequences can span from something minor like account lockout to more major like losing your job or getting your house robbed while you are on vacation like this couple in 2014.
What you post online can not only affect you personally, but also your IRL family and friends, online social network, and even the company you work for. Some of the threats you may face online include:
Just reading possible threats doesn’t mean much to most people, so I will provide a few true incidents in the next section.
Like I have mentioned above, consequences can range from a mild inconvenience to immediate danger. Let’s look at a few incidents including romance scams that fraud people out of thousands of dollars, getting cyberstalked, and fake profiles.
Romance scams have taken record dollars in 2020, a reported loss of $304 million, up 50% from 2019. A recent example of the scammer getting caught occurred in Ontario last month, November 2021. After a two-year investigation police finally uncovered a romance scam involving 21 victims. The first victim that contacted police in October 2019 almost lost $50,000 to the fraudster.
Another example from November of this year is a case of cyberstalking. A man pleaded guilty to stalking British actress Stephanie Davis by bombarding her with messages via social media, delivering letters and gifts, and loitering outside her home. Davis suffered panic attacks due to this cyberstalking and harassment.
The last example is about the Ukrainian journalist Valeria Kovtun. Kovtun had your identity stolen on Instagram and Facebook. Someone had used her pictures, captions, and bio to create a fake profile. This person was posting stories, responding to comments and messages as if they were Kovtun. Instagram immediately removed the fake profile once she reported it, but the weird thing was that all her profiles were private on all platforms meaning someone that she had approved to follow her created the fake profile. You don’t always know whom to trust online.
Here is a handful of simple tips you can follow to be a responsible social media user, for extra education look into taking some basic online cybersecurity training such as an A+ certification course.
It may seem like a lot of extra work to be secure online, but it is really only a little time out of your day or one extra moment before posting the picture that can keep you and others safe. It is worth it.
Looking to learn more? Check out other entry-level courses including Fundamentals+ training or Security+ training. Not a beginner? The Network+ certification is a more intermediate-level course while CySA+ training is more advanced and focuses on behavioural analysis.
The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog.