David’s blog post from September 17 had me thinking about other dangers unwary Internet users may come across, even while surfing seemingly harmless and reputable websites. CNN recently addressed one aspect of this on its website — things to look out for when using social media.
Even if you’re not very familiar with the term “social media,” you’ve surely heard of Facebook. (If not, click on our “Facebook Page” tab at the top of EW Unplugged!) CNN warned that the careless posting of personal information on this site can provide cybercriminals with intelligence they’re sure to appreciate when accessing your checking account. Is your mother a Facebook friend? In some cases, it is the height of simplicity for crooks to get her maiden name, giving them the answer to a common security question. It’s even easier to find out a person’s birthday on social networking sites, so if you Facebook (or “Tweet,” as it were, on Twitter), be sure you don’t use that date for passwords you don’t want compromised.
It’s also a good idea to refrain from telling the world that you’ll be on a trip. The CNN anecdote of an Arizona man’s house being burglarized after he did this makes me glad I considered that possibility before I left for Orlando!
There are even more situations in which savvy would-be identity thieves can put themselves in to find out what’s none of their business, but there’s no point in stressing over it if you just remember to be careful and only share confidential information with the people closest to you. Be aware of who can see what and keep a healthy dose of suspicion in your mind!
My father-in-law recently spent what he called “a good bit of money” to have his computer fixed following what Best Buy called “a virus contracted from a Facebook application.” While there’s a lot of fun to be had on today’s widely popular social media sites, have a care! Your computer and wallet will thank you.