Sharing information

I was recently sent a link to an excellent short video showing the dangers of sharing information in our modern lives. It is here and it worth a look just to make you aware how easy it is to find out all about you.

http://www.pretty52.com/you/real-life-this-coffee-shop-prank-shows-you-need-to-be-with-your-information-20160715

There is an incredibly difficult balance to be drawn. On the one hand we want to take advantage and enjoy everything (and almost anything!) that modern life offers us. We want to pay on line, use Facebook, Gmail, Dropbox, Twitter, Instagram and the rest. We want to be mobile and to be able to obtain any information wherever we are, information that previously was only ever available in the library, at home or in the office filing cabinet.

On the other hand we need to be so aware that there is a very large community of criminals out there whose sole aim in life is to make money from other people in any way they can.  They too can see everything about us that we share with friends and, whilst Facebook and the like do try to secure our information as best they can, there is no doubt a talented crook (and there are plenty of them) can get access to much of the stuff we think is very private.

The key thing to remember is that criminals have one thing in abundance that most of us don’t have.  And that is time.  They will spend time doing their research, looking through your emails when they gain access to the account (usually through a poorly chosen password), checking your profiles in any of the many social media systems we use, and they will then be able to piece together our lives and take advantage of the information they have gleaned.  A bank account from one email, the address from Facebook, a date of birth from Twitter, perhaps our place of work from a reply to an email, and so on.  Then they have enough information to create a new identity, to apply for a credit card in your name which is delivered to them, to use ransomware to get money from you or perhaps to use you to get at an even bigger target.  Emails purporting to come from work colleagues or bosses is now one of the most popular ways of criminals attacking individuals and companies through, for example, ransomware.

It is very difficult to leave no digital footprint but we should make the shadow of ourselves in the digital world as small as we can.  With the huge increase of very skilled hacking services available to the highest bidder, and the sale of virus, ransomware and other “systems” on the significant rise in the criminal world, we need to look after our information (particularly our most sensitive information), wherever it is.  There is no one silver bullet, just constant awareness and an improved understanding of what can happen.  Liking on Facebook, like in the video, is just the start!

About Author: Andy Taylor

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