We tend to underestimate the value our personal data offers to criminals

Most of us use social media networking for sharing photos, keeping in touch with friends, commenting on news stories, or reviewing restaurants. However, our sharing habits can lead to a treasure trove of information which can be used (beyond identity theft) as a stepping-stone to attack our employers. Even if you don’t use social media yourself, or if you are extremely careful with what you share, personal information about you can still be exposed by friends and contacts.  Find out the ways we put ourselves and our companies at risk and learn the latest threats social media platforms present.

Social media can lead to exposure of personal data

Even if we are vigilant about privacy settings and mindful about what we post, our data and metadata (for example, location data stored in your photos) can leak to essentially total strangers. Things you may not even think about can lead to privacy compromise.  Personal data can be discovered about you merely by items in the background of a photo which can offer clues about identity.  Your friends and contacts can also expose your private details, even if you don’t use social media yourself. How can we be better at sharing to protect ourselves and those around us from criminals?

You can take steps to defend yourself online
Understanding how your online activity can lead your private information being seen by strangers or used by criminal hackers is the first step to protecting yourself. Questionable content can damage your reputation, finances, or employment. Your current and frequent locations may be trackable, which can put you in danger.  
Do you think all of this information is protected?

-      There are 3.03 billion active Social Media users

-      91% of retail brands use 2 or more Social Media channels

-      81% of all small and medium businesses use social platforms

-      Social Media users grew by 121 million between Q2 2017 and Q3 2017

-      Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp handle 60 billion messages a day

2018 Social Media Statistics
  • There are 3.03 billion active Social Media users      
  •  91% of retail brands use 2 or more Social Media channels  
  • 81% of small and medium businesses use social platforms      
  • Social Media users grew by 121 million between Q2 2017 and Q3 2017        
  • There is a new Social Media user every 15 seconds       
  • Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp handle 60 billion messages a day
SOURCE: https://blog.statusbrew.com/social-media-statistics-2018-for-business
You can learn to protect yourself, your friends, and your organization

Even if our privacy settings are configured well, and certain data is not able to be viewed, it’s still “out there”, in the permanence of the internet with no guaranteed privacy. 

-       People often base their opinion of you or your business on what they see and read online, even if they might not know you personally.

-       Some services like Foursquare and other location base tools may also put you at risk if you publicly check-in everywhere you go.  There’s evidence to support the belief that burglars are turning to social media to find their targets.

-       Many employers use social networks to investigate candidates for positions in their companies before they decide whether to officially offer you the job. 

-       How many times have you heard about Facebook causing a divorce because people got caught having an online romance?

We need to be mindful of what we share online not just to protect ourselves, but to protect our friends and our employers.

Did you know that your contact lists can contain information that can be profiled to expose:

-       Friendship links

-       Home and work locations

-       Sexual orientation

-       Marital status

We must assume anything we post or share about ourselves on social media will be made available to someone we do not know at some point in time. How is the social platform using your data? Who is your social platform selling that data to? What posted but non-public information would an attacker have access to as a result of a security breach?

Helpful Links and Resources
Books for Everyone
How to Connect, Share, Play, and Keep Yourself Sage (A Smart Girl's Guide)(Appropriate for teens/tweens)
Understanding & Managing Your Child's Digital Footprint 
The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data

Training and Services

Whether it’s a short presentation or a longer set of content, I can teach you, your family, or your organization about security, including the following topics:

  • Social media privacy and safety
  • Securing your most important assets
  • Securing software and building a secure software development lifecycle (SDLC)
  • Digital security while traveling internationally
  • Compliance and Risk Management

Each training can be customized to be relevant to you (e.g. Security for You, Your Family, providers of services such as Legal, Financial, Government, SaaS, Cloud, etc).

Personal Privacy and Digital Security assessment services are also available.

Please contact me for details.

About The Trainer

April C. Wright is a hacker, author, teacher, and community leader with over 25 years of breaking, making, fixing, and defending global critical communications and connections. She has held roles on offensive, defensive, operational, and development teams throughout her career. She is an international speaker and trainer, educating others about Information Security, with the goal of protecting individual privacy and important assets to make the digital components that impact our lives safer and more secure. 

A security specialist for a Fortune 15 company, April has been a speaker and contributor at numerous security conferences including BlackHat, DEF CON, DefCamp, ITWeb, Hack In Paris, and DerbyCon, as well as for the US Government and industry organizations such as OWASP and ISSA. She has started multiple small businesses including a non-profit, is a member of the DEF CON Groups Core Team, and in 2017 she co-founded the Boston DEF CON Group DC617. 

April is a polymath who has collected dozens of certifications to add letters at the end of her name. She almost died in Dracula’s secret staircase, and once read on ‘teh interwebs’ that researchers at the University of North Carolina released a comprehensive report in 2014 confirming that she is the “most significant and interesting person currently inhabiting the earth”, so it must be true.