8 Real Dangers of Posting Your Pictures and Information Online
by Writer Keith Morris
Topic: Online Safety
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In modern society, personal information is generated and processed in huge quantities. Many people these days are careful about never posting their personal information online; however, others tend to overshare. Many parents post pictures of their kids on social media to share them with friends and family. Others reveal their new hometowns, travel plans, and other sensitive information.
These seemingly harmless photos and updates may be divulging more information about your life than you realize. With more data about your personal life circulating than ever before, you must learn how to take control of your online privacy. There are several risks associated with careless online activity.
Why Cyber Safety is Critical
Smartphones make it easy for people to send and receive images on the go and share them online. However, every photo you share could end in a scam or hack. With over 3.6 billion social media users and growing, there’s a wealth of information floating around online that is readily accessible to cybercriminals.
Often, you don’t know who is looking at your data and pictures on the other end of the screen, which can be dangerous and intrusive. You must ensure that only those you trust can see your information.
The Dangers of Posting Online
It’s all fun and games until someone you don’t know gets access to your social media profile. While most people enjoy the daily use of social media platforms to keep up with friends and family, there are very real dangers of posting pictures online.
1. Your photos reveal a lot more than you think
Each photo you post contains more information than you might think. Along with your name and face, you also give viewers access to data like your friend circle, address, birthday, or workplace. With the context that photos provide, hackers may be able to track you down based on a single image.
You may be in a photo with friends, who are also tagged, leading criminals to their accounts. This may put them at risk of phishing or being tricked into providing personal information.
2. Fraudsters could steal your information
People can steal your information through social media. The most popular social media sites access your account information before installation. Your profiles may list more personal details like your hometown, former schools, pets, and occupation. Hackers can easily get into your profiles and use these details to commit fraud. Almost 46% of active Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook users are at an increased risk of identity theft.
If you are concerned about the real dangers of posting pictures online, consider investing in a password manager tool.
3. Sharing on social media can violate your child's privacy
Sharing pictures of their early childhood on social media or blogs may make your children feel powerless over their bodies and beliefs. As children grow older, they can become self-conscious about social media posts depicting their younger years.
A picture can go from a family photo to fodder for bullying. If your child’s classmates get a hold of your social media profile, they can make fun of or even harass your child for photos you shared.
4. Future employers go through your social media profiles
Many employers conduct background checks on job candidates through social media and search engines. It is crucial to think twice before publicly posting embarrassing photos or an offensive status update, as they could turn away prospective employers.
5. People can view all your social media profiles
When you post online, there’s no telling who’s looking at your content. But you do have some control over your social media profiles. The privacy settings in Facebook make it so only your Facebook friends will see your photos and statuses.
Stay cautious about who you connect with on Facebook to prevent the wrong people from seeing your information. If you make your Instagram profile private, your photos will only be visible to your followers, but remember that your bio information is public.
6. Your photos know where you have been
Geotags are helpful for locating photos on your phone, especially if you want to share your vacation photos online with your family and friends. But as with everything online, you need to be careful about sharing pictures with this embedded data. Some social media platforms like Facebook will delete a photo’s metadata. Regardless of what platform you’re using, make sure you delete any geotags from your photos before uploading them on social media.
7. Unapproved photos of you are circulating
It is inevitable when friends and family tag you in photos on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Since people can tag you at any time, check your social media regularly and review your tags in images by asking people to remove the tags.
If you want more control over who tags you, Facebook has a feature in which you can review your tags and approve them so they appear on your Facebook feed. It’s good practice to use this feature to prevent photos you haven’t seen from showing up on your timeline.
8. What you post will always stay on the internet
Despite securing your social media profiles and not posting as often, keep in mind that anything you post online can stay there forever due to browser caches and cloud storage backups. Think twice before posting something you might regret later.
Respect and Protect the Privacy of Others
Don’t share information about others online without their permission. Ask your children before posting pictures of them, and follow through with your promise to refrain from sharing photos if they don’t agree to you doing so. Remind your family and friends not to post pictures of your children unless they have your express permission. Be responsible for safeguarding your privacy and staying secure online.
Safeguard Your Digital Privacy
Social media is an excellent way to keep up with family and friends, learn about the latest trends, and connect with people from around the world. It can be tempting to post a photo of your passport details alongside a tropical drink on the beach, but it’s best to keep your personal information to yourself.
Your details can be easily stolen from photos you share online. Once an image is uploaded, someone with malicious intent can deduce where you are and who you are with. Even your children can face repercussions from the photos you’re posting. Consider the consequences of what you post online before you hit “SHARE” to improve your cyber safety.
About the Author
Keith Morris is a 20+ year veteran of the security game, with the knowledge and experience to set you on the right track toward personal safety and security. His firm is committed to giving you the tools and know-how to combat any threat to your safety.
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