Social Media Privacy and Data Security

I am sure you have read about the latest breach this time, hitting Facebook.  Facebook confirmed that the access codes for 50 million accounts were compromised.  Facebook is still investigating the impact of the breach, and has not yet reported whether any personal information was gathered or misused from those accounts.

For those of you that use Facebook, err on the side of caution and assume your information was compromised.  If you have not already done so, change your login credentials for your Facebook account.  If you use the same credentials for other accounts (which you should not do), then those account credentials should be changed, too.  If you link your Facebook account to other social media accounts, you should check those accounts and change the credentials on those accounts, too.

I noted in a prior post that birthdays should not be posted on LinkedIn.  Similarly, such personally identifiable data points should not be posted on your Facebook or other social media accounts.

While Facebook may be a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends and family, living out loud online puts you at risk.

Do not feel compelled to share future plans for travel, or other personal data/information, on social media. Be smart and be safe!

It is always nice when your social media connections remember your birthday, anniversary or other special occasions.

However, that does not mean you should make it easy for someone you do not know, and who may actually be looking for identities to steal, to capture your personal information. Posting your birthday (month and date) on Facebook or LinkedIn may seem innocuous enough, but if you also have posted the year you graduate high school or college on your profile, it is easy for someone to then put together your full birthdate.

While the content we put forward on social media does a fabulous job of keeping us connected, it also provides hackers and their researchers a treasure trove of data that can then be used to impersonate you, determine your password or dupe you into sharing information.

Be smart and never overshare – those who should know your special days already do!

As a prudent (read: paranoid) cybersecurity attorney, I am not on Facebook. However, Facebook serves a noble purpose of connecting its users. The problem is that the platform continues to be fertile ground for scammers and hackers looking to take advantage of the unwary.

To help those of you grappling with how to best secure your online profiles and avoid being duped, there are two tremendously valuable resources available online:

There are certainly ways to secure your profile, but you should never assume that an application or site’s default settings are the most secure. In fact, you should expect the opposite: default settings will generally allow for the broadest volume of sharing, access and use – including by the application provider and other, potentially malicious, users.