The Social Media & Personal Security

Source: fredcavazza.net

The social media can be a great place to have great discussions, collect information, work, meet people and relax; however, regardless of the nature of one's social media use, one should mind what is posted there because we never know who is watching.

Blog Bloke says that the main purpose of the social media (SM) is to connect people. Although I agree, I also wonder whether it wouldn't be best for individuals to connect with people they have had some sort of previous rapport (be it personal, professional or through blogging, for instance), because as fun as the social media may be, it can also become a dangerous place - especially when users over-expose themselves.

Thinking of the social media from a security point of view is capital.
This article is not to be understood as a promotion to paranoia; but as an advice that people should take heed of what sort of "friends/followers" might be reading their opinions, feelings, habits (e.g. what they eat) and their personal information (e.g. birthdays, phone number, address); looking at their photos (of themselves, their children, family, house, car, their neighbourhood, workplace etc) and building a solid profile on them and their family.

There are accounts of social media users that have been robbed after having shared online that at X time they'd leave the house, to go to Y place and do Z. There are others that have been suffering humiliation and lost their jobs because of what they post online - since they fall for the psychology of the "Friends" epithet, they never count on whom may be following their activity online and with which intent.
The above mentioned may seem daunting but not as much as what we are about to discuss: paedophilia and kidnappings.

Paedophiles on the lurk
If you are a parent, you should be very careful about posting photos of your children. Sharing them with family is acceptable because the risk is reduced (and if something would happen it would help to narrow a list of suspects); however, sharing your offspring's pictures with a bunch of strangers (in an non-controlled environment) is asking for troubles.
Paedophiles surf the web in search of "children to love". They will befriend or follow you online; they will build a profile of your children; they will select one (according to his, or his network's, needs) and focus on him/her. Then, they will find ways to steal your child - and these paedophilic scouters do not even need to live near you, or be in your country - given their world wide network, all they have to do is hunt online.

Kidnapping: a game of opportunity
Pascal Michel, director international services at Result Group, says that "Kidnappers use social networks and the Internet not only to select their victims and for  reconnaissance purposes, but also in order to make contact with potential victims – frequently by means of social engineering." 
(NB: social engineering = psychological manipulation of individuals to lead them to divulge personal or confidential information)
If you are a person of wealth (or of relative wealth), or with a particular status, you should be apprehensive about your offspring's and relatives' use of the social media; because (unlike paedophiles who target children from any social stratum) kidnappers are more likely to target your family and, to that end, they will navigate through the social media with the sole aim of obtaining as much information as possible.

"The kidnapping of the son of company founder Evgeny Karpersky in Russia is one notable example. Using the Russian counterpart of Facebook, the kidnappers gathered information about the victim such as his current photo, the address of his apartment, and details of where he was completing his internship. This method minimised the need for risky, physical surveillance." (Pascal Michel)

Individuals should not make it easier for criminals to snatch their relatives, burglar their home etc. They should bear in mind that felons today will use every single piece of detail people provide to attack them; therefore the amount of personal information that is shared in the SM should be controlled.
Keeping yourself, and your family, safe is paramount.


Comments

  1. You raise an important issue. People are reckless when they engage on the web, they expose themselves, their family and friends and then complain that the government is snooping or that something bad happened to them. How many parents say "is it my fault?" after having their kid kidnapped due to social media exposure? Yes, it is their fault and someone should tell them just that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous :D!

      The authorities may think "yes, it is your fault" but they will never say it (in order not to add to an already stressful situation). However, I agree with you: parents are responsible in such cases.

      Anon, thank you so much for your input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  2. I quite agree. Momma always told me better safe than sorry. Good post Max!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi BB :D!

      I agree with your mother. Thank you *bowing*.

      Blog Bloke, thank you so much for your input to this article and comment :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  3. Hi Max, too much exposure gives you an one colour picture ,,, as in photos.... so, if people gets too lighted, there's a danger such as you mention.... i understand the will that companies and people have ... the wonder spotlight, to get noticed, to make a point, to be more than just one ... but as you pointed out this a knife with 2 opposite sharp cutting edges... that can take you to lack of freedom.... but as always, most of us are molded by the circumstances, environment and perhaps at the end we are just a shade pale of what we truly are or ought to be.... all the best

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gallardo :D!

      A "shade pale of what we truly are or ought to be"...that is beautiful, G. Yes, indeed, most of us are just that...
      The problem with people is this need for attention (without a specific purpose) that leads them to...like Anon said...being reckless.

      G, thank you so very much for your input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  4. Excellent post! Yes, people are irresponsible when they use the social media, specially when they post their children's photos! What, they believe their "friends" will not do anything to them? They're dead wrong.
    I read a comment left in your other blog and I agree with her: even when people do not have that many online "friends" they forget they can share those photos and who will end up seeing them, huh? They don't know and so make the life of sexual criminals easier.
    Very good activism, Max. Keep on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Celeste :D!

      Thank you *bowing*. So true.
      I read that comment already and I take my hat off to Luma: superb input.

      Celeste, thank you for your comment and support :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  5. G+ is my only social media platform so I am cool and safe. I haven't seen anyone posting photos of children there but again I don't follow people who'd have that kind of behavior online. My peeps are private and I like them that way. Kol Hakavod, Max!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mike :D!

      No FB? Wow, how can you live with yourself ;) lol? I hear you on privacy.
      Todah rabah, darling.

      Mike, thank you so much for your input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  6. Like Michael, my only social media experience is Google + and only because I had heard that blogger was going to change its comment boxes. But I am glad I joined Google + cause I am loving my interventions in communities.
    I would never use the social media to share information about me and my family cause I know better, but most people don't care and then when shit happens they go all surprised: omg how did this happen to me? Yeah, bitches, it happened cause you were stupid!
    Shabbat Shalom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ana :D!

      Yes, I remember. LOL girl, you were flagged by Mike Rotch, did you know that?
      LOL LOL I always love your heterodox way of commenting lol *nodding*. But you have a point, people should be more responsible.
      Shavua Tov!

      Ana, thank you so much for your input :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  7. I hope that some one will kidnap me for ransom! The kidnapper may have to pay my family to take me back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      LOL LOL LOL oh my God LOL....*nodding*. What would you do to the kidnapper for him to pay your family to take you back?

      Rummy, you kill me. Thank you so much for the laugh, my friend :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  8. It's like this, people put their lives out there and then worry about the bloody agency and assault to their privacy, give me a F***ing break! The same goes for personal security, if you expose yourself don't cry when shit happens.
    BTW, my baby Ana Antunes rocks or what? hehehehe....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Adam :D!

      So true.
      LOL LOL oh, she is your baby now? I didn't know that...are congratulations in order?

      Adam, thank you so much for your comment, man :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
    2. Max, he is just being stupid, don't listen to him!
      Adam, no chance, man!

      Delete
    3. Ana, oh....I see.... :)
      You two are cute.

      Delete

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