Monday, February 09, 2009

Being Security Conscious Online Take 2

One of my previous posts about being security conscious focused primarily on passwords. After that post & sending my client newsletter out, I received a few interesting emails that raised another huge issue: the amount of personal information people are now sharing online.

Let me recount what happened with each of these people so you can understand some of the dangers. Names & specific details have been changed to protect privacy.

Marie provides a business to business service. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and travels a good deal. She is married with no children. Her husband traveled recently with her to a weekend conference in the South. They returned home on a Sunday night to find that their house had been broken into. She had both blogged and tweeted before leaving that her husband would be going with her. Perhaps it was a mere coincidence. But she feels certain now that she made a mistake advertising to the world that their home would be empty for 3 days.

John was in Vegas for a conference a couple of months ago. He's a snapshot crazy person. Takes pictures of everything and uploads them online. He had secured a suite with a cool room number at a hotel and took a picture of the door & room number which he then put online. John relayed online that he was going to a show. His hotel room was broken into - his laptop and other valuables were stolen.

Jamie is a single girl that blogs about her day to day life. She uses a pseudonym online. She had felt she was pretty safety conscious in terms of not revealing personal information. Her domain name was registered using privacy. She had mentioned several times in her blog posts that she lived alone and the city she lived in. One day she mentioned going to see a specific movie with friends at a repertoire theater. A movie that was only playing at one location at one time in her city. As she put her key in her door upon arriving home, a man jumped her and attacked her. He repeatedly referred to her by her pen name. He had apparently followed her home from the movie.


Social Media usage is increasing
Many SM sites allow you to find users based on location or to search sites for references to areas/events/etc
The economy is in a pretty bad state as we all know and it's going to get worse before it gets better
Crime is on the rise

I'd suggest taking some time to review your own online habits & see what you can do to ensure your own security. If you see your friends, loved ones or associates revealing too much, let them know gently. (Perhaps refer them to this post.)