You may scoff at the idea that you would be so foolish as to let anyone other than those your trust access personal and private information about you online. Sadly, most people’s’ online information isn’t as secure as they would like to believe. In fact, there are many genuine risks to your security online, the most serious of which you can learn more about below.
Imagine finding out that your personal home address and telephone number was available to anyone in the world. Well, this is exactly what those that have been doxxed have to deal with. This is because doxxing or ‘document dropping’ is the practice of sharing personal and sometimes private information online with a view to embarrassing or harassing an individual.
Sadly, many have been victims of doxxing including famous people like Kim Kardashian as well as folks that have spoken out on specific issues including misogyny in the video games industry.
Of course, any sensible person will want to prevent their personal details being available to all and sundry of the web, but no everyone understands how to do this.
The first step is to find a fast free VPN service that blocks information like your physical location and IP address from being spied upon. Additionally, using separate emails and password for your business and gaming accounts can help prevent any security breach from becoming too severe and overlapping into every part of your life.
Remember too that while the actual practice of doxxing itself is not technically illegal, anyone using the information for harassment is breaking the law. Therefore you can report any incidence to the police who will investigate.
If you have ever see the Film or TV series of Catfish, you will know that this is a situation that happens with alarming frequency online. Basically, it is when one person pretends to be someone that they are not and integrates themselves into another’s life through social media, messaging, and even phone contact.
The most extreme cases are ones that have the victim believing they are in a serious and committed relationship with someone who doesn’t actually exist in real life. Instead, the person with whom they have had contact is someone else entirely, even going so far as to be married, or even a different gender.
Sadly, the accessibility of many social media accounts means that catfisher can easily assume another person’s identity, or create a new online profile with that person pictures and personal information.
Of course, you will neither want to be the victim of catfishing or of identity theft, and that’s why it is crucial to protect yourself. One way to do this is to not enter into a romantic or friendship anyone online. It’s also possible to instigate some tests such as asking the other person to send you a photo of them holding a card showing something that you ask them to write if you are having doubts about their authenticity.
Additionally, restricting your social media and online account settings to private can prevent unwanted use of your photographs for identity theft too.
Social media faux pas
When it comes to accidentally revealing our personal information online, there is no better platform to do this on than social media. After all, for most of us taking pictures and adding updates about what we are doing throughout the day is entirely natural and normal.
Of course, the problems arise when you add people that you either don’t know that well, can’t be trusted or when you have followers from all different parts of your life being able to access a single feed.
For example, say you add someone on Facebook that you played games with online. They seem cool, so why not? Yet actually you don’t really know anything about them. What is stopping them going through your pictures to find out details of your life or where you live, or even adding your contacts as friends? Something that will seem much more legitimate because they appear as your friend?
Another possible issue that can occur is when you end up adding people that you work with on social media and then forget. In fact, many folks have caused themselves an issue this way by calling into work sick and then adding a post to their feed where they are actually out enjoying themselves.
People also forget and complain about work too, even though their manages can read it, or even take pictures of a wild night out and not expect anyone to say anything when they get back to work on a Monday morning!
With that in mind, it is best to change your profiles settings to private and hide your friends. It’s also wise to restrict followers access to additional information such as your photo albums and posts, especially if you have your boss added as a friend. Some folks even go so far as to have separate accounts for IRL friends, work friends, and those they meet online.
Phishing and scams
Finally, when it comes to revealing information that you don’t mean to online, one of the oldest tricks in the book are phishing scams. These are when you get sent an email or message that asks you to reveal some personal information that can then be used to further scam you or hack your accounts.
The thing is that many of us believe ourselves to be pretty savvy when it comes to phishing scams, but sadly they advance as quickly as tech does. What that means is that there is a new breed of phishing scam out there that send messages that look very genuine, contain believable detail, and are very hard to spot with the naked eye.
To that end, it is necessary that you always think twice before filling in your personal details when you have been directed to from an email or message. In fact, it’s crucial always to check the https status of a site and heed the safety warnings that your security software provides.
Remember if you are in any doubt, do not enter any details. Instead, close the email and go to the company’s website directly. Then submit a query to see if they have legitimately contacted you. Otherwise, you could be inadvertently revealing your personal information online to those who would use it for less than aboveboard reasons.