Summer Cyber-Secure Challenge: Social Connection Review

This is post two in the Summer Cyber-Secure Challenge.

Here’s a link to the previous one:

App Delete

Social Connection Review

Part A. Review connections on private personal profiles and remove those you don’t know well.

It feels good to see the number of friends and connections you have grow, right? That means you’re popular and social. You may have had a good connection with that friend from fifteen years ago, but now you don’t really speak to each other. If you’re comfortable with the kinds of details you share on your (private) personal profile being seen by this person, then by all means keep them. However, if you’re not comfortable, remove them or if possible, move them into another social circle where you don’t share as much. If you have children who aren’t adults yet, you should review their social profiles too, and remove people they don’t know in real life or aren’t known to you.

Review social connections

Part B. Review job and other details shared on professional profiles.

On professional social networking sites, you may see it as a boon to have as many connections as possible. After all, you never know when a connection will lead to that next big opportunity. Instead of cleaning out your connections, check on the job details you have listed. If you worked on a sensitive project, consider not listing it or, instead, hold back on details that could make you a target for phishing and other online lures. Jobs that deal with intellectual property, classified projects, or even access to financial records, health records, and personally identifiable information can make you an attractive target.

Why is it important to carefully review your connections and what you put online?

Information is the new oil. It’s valuable. The 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations report puts personal, payment, and medical information as the top three targets of cyber crime (see p.9). This data is useful for all kinds of fraud (e.g. medical claims, credit cards). At the very least, make it harder to fall victim to fraud by not giving away this information or making yourself a target for social engineering scams!

Knowing what you share online and with whom, gives you more control. Over time, your decisions on what to share is likely to change. For example, when kids get older, you may decide to stop posting things that could embarrass them. After all, what goes on the internet never truly leaves. If you’re comfortable with your personal life being projected onto the internet, that’s your decision, but recognize that your close friends and family may feel differently. Keeping track of who you’re connected with is a good step toward reclaiming privacy and limiting details that could be used to hack you.

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