The internet has been a part of our lives for many years now. Generations of people have grown up accustomed to living their lives digitally, and have freely volunteered personal information on long forgotten social media platforms, forums and blogs, and continue to do so as part of their daily social routine without necessarily considering the impact that this may have on their personal security in the long term.
The reality is that this information, so willingly provided, either in the form of videos on Youtube, pictures and posts on Facebook, or even questions asked in your favoured forums can all be used to build a remarkably detailed picture of your private life, which in the wrong hands could put your career and personal safety at risk.
As an employer, are your employees naively putting themselves and your business at risk of either bribery or blackmail? As an individual, can you account for every piece of information that you have ever published on the web?
Is this you?
Mike has used the internet since his teens. In 2003 he was one of the first users of MySpace, creating a profile and chatting with other users. As time went on, he moved to Bebo, retaining his old username so friends could still find him – even creating an email address that incorporated it. Later he adopted both Facebook and Twitter to stay updated with friends and family around the globe. He would go on to post pictures of his holidays, share the birth of his first child, wish his wife a happy birthday tagging her in a location update at their favourite restaurant, and sharing the news of his big promotion at the bank where he works. In a car owner’s forum, he asks about the best place to get finance for his dream car – mentioning that he doesn’t have a large deposit.
If the information that Mike has published over the years were to be collected and viewed together, along with information found in popular directories and mapping websites, it would be possible to identify Mike, his family and children, locate their address, possible ways of contacting him anonymously and, that he works in the banking industry but might still be susceptible to a form of corruption. If Mikes story feels familiar to you, it may be time to review your internet privacy!