People share everything on the Internet—from what they ate for breakfast, to where they’re going to spend the whole day, what brand of clothing they’re wearing, how much they love the new promo of Taco Bell, their email addresses and actual addresses, mobile numbers, favorite beer, etc. The Internet is the world’s journal. If you want to have an outline of a person’s life, then you only need to “google” his or her name. Even the brand “Google” has now become a verb.
Don’t you feel that it’s too much already? Don’t you realize that posting too much information (TMI) on the Internet may have negative repercussions not only to you, but to the people around you? Below are 3 grave threats to you when you make your personal information publicly available:
Cybercriminals might use your private details for attacks.
Hackers’ primary resource is the Internet. They take advantage of whatever useful information they can find online — from random mobile and Internet fax numbers to your work history—to determine possible passwords of your accounts through social engineering. These people are so clever that they can do so much evil with so little information. What more if they have too much? Hackers may steal your identity and use your credit card. They can also ruin your image through identity theft. But, it’s not only you who is at stake here — your family might be affected too, if you’re not careful. For instance, if you’re planning a trip abroad and you impulsively announced it on Twitter, burglars who have already researched your address may plan to rob your house, since they know that your family’s out of town.
Your social media preferences may lead to targeted ads and lack of privacy.
Targeted ads use people’s online behavior for marketing. They literally undermine your right to privacy as they monitor your online activities to know your preferences and needs without your formal consent. They collect personal information to help them create their marketing strategy. Targeted ads are like spy cams hovering over your shoulder while you surf. Do you want your privacy to be crossed without permission? What if they give the information they’ve gathered to cybercriminals? How safe are targeted ads, really?
Cyberbullies may use the information you post against you.
Cyberbullying is no laughing matter. It’s ubiquitous, and a lot of teens’ psychological and emotional conditions are being damaged because of it. Bullies use the personal details they find online as ammunition when attacking their prey. For instance, if a bully discovers that his or her prey is off for a job interview, this bully may call the company and disclose private details about the target that may cause reputation damage. Bullies can also sell your information to cybercriminals. Worse, there have been cases of suicide caused by this phenomenon.
The Internet blurred the line between what’s private and what’s public. But this doesn’t have to spill over to your personal life. Regain control. Social networking sites have implemented new privacy guidelines to keep your personal information safe. Take advantage of those, and make sure that they are always on and customized according to your needs. Most of all, think hard before you post—the power to protect yourself is in your hands.