Social media has become the ideal hunting ground for criminals thanks to the saturation of personal data currently available online. By using websites as casing tools, a criminal can send a customized message (spearphishing) in which he or she will try to get a user to visit a fake website, disguised as a legitimate one, with the aim of stealing their information and money.
Criminals will also use manipulation techniques to get people to open infected files, which act as malware droppers, which can later steal data or copy everything that’s typed into a computer with a keylogger.
“We have to keep in mind that the information we put out there can’t be misused by cyber criminals alone. Human resources consulting firms will also analyze profiles, as will most people before meeting anyone face to face. Even if we are social creatures by natures, here at ESET we recommend making responsible use of social media platforms in order for everyone to enjoy the internet in a safe fashion,” said Camilo Gutiérrez, Lab Chief at ESET Latin America.
Here are some tips to fight against the risks of excessive sharing via web:
- Check the privacy settings that each social media platform has.
- Limit the information that people can access.
- Analyze the information you choose to publish, since the moment it is made public, you lose control over it. The safe option is to avoid publishing anything you wouldn’t want the public to see.
- Think like a criminal: can the information you are publishing be used against you? If so, it’s better not to share it.
- Be wary of suspicious messages, especially if they contain links or sound too good to be true. This tip applies even to messages sent by people you known and trust, since their accounts could have been hacked.
- Check all friend requests. Ideally, you only want to accept requests from people you know, acquaintances or friends of friends you know in real life.
It’s important to remember that the digital phenomenon of immediate sharing of experiences isn’t risky in itself, but is rather made vulnerable by the nature of what is shared and who can access it.