How Can Social Media Posts Impact Your Personal Data Security?

Most adults consider themselves to be well educated in how to keep themselves safe online. Don’t share passwords, don’t choose easy passwords, and keep an eye on your privacy settings. But many people don’t think social media has much to do with their personal data. Facebook and your sensitive personal information don’t seem connected, but in fact, social media posts can put your data security at risk.

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The Temptation to Share on Social Media

There is always a new trend popping up on social media news feeds asking users to share a piece of their history in a fun way. Maybe it’s about your senior year in high school, your first baby, your romantic history. Maybe it’s finding your leprechaun name by using your birth month and day, or your mom and dad’s names, or some other innocent piece of information. As you see your friends on social media looking back, it’s fun to read through and see who their favorite teacher was, what their first car was, or how funny a name pops up with a certain birthday. It’s tempting to join in and see your friends comment on your first car, favorite book, or first concert. Sharing your prom or high school senior picture is easy to do and a fun way to connect, and isn’t that the point of social media? Staying connected with those we may have lost touch with over the years is one of the reasons many join social media to begin with.

What is the Danger of Participating in Social Media Trends?

No one wants to think that they are sharing information that a thief would find desirable, but the fact is that many are doing just that without realizing it. As you share photos, especially if you tag friends or locations, you are providing information about your relationships and current – as well as former – locations. When you share basic, silly, yet personal information about your favorite books, sports, movies, or information about your past teachers’ names or first cars, you are sharing information that is often used to help secure your online accounts via security questions (like, “who was your first grade teacher?”), or even information that could make up your passwords. Most adults know that a secure password is made up of a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, but if a hacker sees that you have two kids named Amy and Dan and your first dog was named Lucky, they have a starting place to guess passwords that can be meaningful and easy to remember for you, but passwords you think are personal enough to be secure. If you, like many, use the same password for multiple accounts, you could be in trouble very quickly.

How Can You Participate in Social Media While Keeping Your Data Safe?

While the first step is to lock down your social media profiles to friends only, it’s important to remember that nothing you share on the internet is truly private. Regularly note what information is on the security questions you’ve set up on your important sites, and change those, along with your passwords, regularly. When it comes to social media trends, steer clear. Providing so much information about your life on the internet is a risky endeavor, and the few moments of fun aren’t worth it.

Before you share anything on social media, stop and think that whatever you are posting has the potential to become public, and that even seemingly innocent information in the wrong hands can become disastrous. Resisting the temptation to join in may be difficult, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

With a proactive approach to protecting your personal information online, you’ll enjoy catching up with old friends and sharing moments with people you care about without putting your personal information at risk. For more information about online safety, and tips to keep your information secure both at home and at work, check out our AccuShred blog today!