Social media developments have been in the news lately: Facebook Messages stretches the social inbox, Yahoo launches “Local Offers,” and Twitter gets more granular with “Trends,” to name a few. Also in the news are stories covering the darker side of social media, and the risks associated with using these compelling tools without considering your privacy – or even your safety. I’ve posted on the topic of what not to share before (here’s the link), but the word has been slow getting out – and there’s a recent insurance study to reinforce the words of warning:
Over a third of social network users are putting themselves at greater risk of burglary, according to an insurance firm. Research by Co-operative Insurance indicated that 36% of respondents said they used social sites to post updates on their whereabouts, and 35% announced holiday plans: both are useful gobbets of information to allow potential burglars to strike when they’re away.
- 21% of those questioned admitted that they didn’t know all of their friends, as some of them were friends of friends, and possibly dodgy characters.
- More reports surface of burglaries where the criminals used Facebook to plan their raids. Indeed, Confused.com warned at the time that insurance companies may eventually start pricing the fact that a customer is active on a social networking site into their policy cost.
- The CIS survey also unearthed the extent of other security risks people are prepared to take on the likes of Facebook: 42% have happily shared their date of birth, and 14% have revealed their address.
Much of this unwise sharing comes from our children – and it makes perfect sense that security (cyber and otherwise) does not top their list of priorities. Here’s a link to an article with some scary stats on just what parents think about this important topic:
The poll, conducted by Zogby International for Common Sense Media, finds that the vast majority of kids think their friends share way too much information online. At least 92 % of the parents surveyed say kids are too willing to give out personal information in exchange for goods and services available via the computer. Purveyors of just about everything in cyberspace often ask for personal information as a condition for gaining access to their websites, or for buying their wares.
- 85 % of parents say they are more concerned about online privacy than they were five years ago.
- 69 % of parents believe online privacy is a shared responsibility of individuals and online companies.
- 91 % of parents think search engines and social networking sites should get their permission before sharing a kid’s physical location with other companies.
And then there is my favorite recent story linking crime to social networking – this one deserves to read and passed on! Here’s the link, and an excerpt:
A Florida Keys teen was arrested Sunday evening after deputies found a computer logged onto his Myspace account in a home that had been burglarized, according to the Monroe Cohunty Sheriff’s Office. Deputies arriving at the house found no one inside, but they did find a back window open, empty soda and food containers, and some marijuana on a coffee table. The deputies also found a bedroom computer turned on and logged into the Myspace account of Robert Rupp, 18, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. FrontPoint strongly encourages you and any children in your household to exercise extreme care in what you share. We may be the leader in interactive, wireless home security, but that doesn’t mean we expect you to invite the intruder in. Remember: deterrence comes before detection, and deterrence includes maintaining your privacy. Let’s all work together to make it as hard on the bad guys as we can!