Online Security and Social Media

The 21st Century is built on information. Everything from the cloud, to the apps on your smartphone function on the terabytes of information being uploaded around the world every second. Social media is a prime example of a wealth of information and data. It’s also an example of a security vulnerability. When it comes to being connected, here are five things to never, ever post if you are serious about online security.


The Wrong Pictures

Sharing pictures is one of the fundamentals of the Internet. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram thrive on new family photos or special events. The problem comes when the wrong kinds of photos get shared.

The first kind of photo never to post is the intimate kind. Any photos of yourself or others that are too revealing can come back to haunt you. These photos can be taken and saved for the personal use of strangers or even harvested for a commercial site without your knowledge.

Next: photos of inappropriate activity. Sharing photos of drinking or drug use might seem fine because you’re only posting them to your friends, but you’d be stunned at how easily they end up with employers.

Finally, be very careful when sharing pictures of your kids. While a cute photo is great for your family, companies have been known to use those photos in order to sell products and services.


Personal Opinions and Information

The Internet was built around the idea of a democratic exchange of ideas, but that’s changed a bit. These days, posting an inflammatory opinion about work, a coworker, or a boss can land you in hot water. Likewise, anything that sounds (or could sound) like a threat does raise flags that get followed up on by the authorities.

Even when you’re not venting, be careful of sharing too much. When describing a vacation you’re about to take or that you’re on, be cautious with the details. Scanning the web for people who are away from home has become a common practice for thieves.


Sensitive Information

Along those same lines, never post anything about your income or sudden amounts of money you may have come in to. The wrong mention of money can make you a target for hackers, particularly since it’s fairly easy these days to search comments or posts you’ve made over multiple years. For this reason, you should never post anything that would give away your real phone number, your address, your real date of birth, or anything else a hacker could use to steal your identity.


Unprotected Work

Finally, if you’re working on something, be sure to get it copyrighted before you share it online. As soon as you put something out there, a photo, a piece of writing, or even an idea, it becomes common property if it’s not protected.

This goes for professional ideas, too. The competition in business has become so fierce that even alluding to an idea your company is working on could be the opportunity to steal intellectual property.