Cyber Security Awareness Month – Take care of your info

cyber security awareness october

Cyber-bullying and cyber-crime is a real issue for anyone of any age. Bullying, stalking, scams and crimes all take place in our virtual world every single day.

Personal security is compromised when our information is made overly public…

Just think about that.

If you are on social media, there are vast amounts of people you do not actually know following your posts –if your location settings are on, for instance, those people can just show up on your doorstep. Personal safety and security aside, do you really want a random Twitter follower showing up at your house unannounced? I’d personally be creeped out.

We wanted to do this post to let you guys know that there are ways to discourage any type of creepy behaviours. Social media makes it just as easy as it is difficult to keep your personal information private.

Turn off all your devices

location-services-privacy-settingsOk, I’m kidding. But I wanted to start off there. Unless you have a business you are trying to promote and that is what you are posting about, be sure that your location services are turned OFF. If you’re posting a photo of yourself, your family, your kids, you don’t really want a stranger on the internet to know exactly where you live.

  • Take some minutes of your time to check the settings on your phone to know if this service is on or off.
  • If you use social media quite frequently, you should also check the options they offer in terms of location. You might not know that they are on by default.
  • Foursquare can be a lot of fun for lots of people, but you have a risk of being followed or stalked by the wrong people.

OMG Facebook

Facebook and its ever-changing, often elusive privacy settings. Use them. Educate yourself on them. I find Facebook is where people share very personal details about their lives. Did you know that the top of every single post you do on facebook tells you exactly who can see it?

cyber-security-awareness-facebook-privacy-settingsIf there is a globe at the top of your post, anyone who finds your profile can look at that post. For instance, cover photos can never be private –they are always available to everyone- so ensure that you aren’t posting any pictures as your cover photo that you don’t want the world to have access to.

Remember, any photo that can be seen can be saved. Profile photos seem to automatically set to the globe now when you add a new one, so make sure you change that, unless you want the world to see your selfies ;)

The last thing I want to remind everyone about Facebook is that you only have control over who sees your posts on your page. If you are posting on a friend’s page or a business page, your privacy becomes subject to their privacy settings.

If you are trying not to be found online for whatever reason, this is something to keep in mind. Also, even if you have your privacy settings so others cannot see photos tagged of you, all someone has to do is go on your friend’s page to see them –so make sure you let your friends in on your desire about your pics.

Twitter. Instagram. Tumblr. Snapchat. Etc… just remember that if it is out there, it can be accessed by people you might not want to see it. Remember when you post a photo with your location settings on, the location is embedded in the data of the photo. And it doesn’t take a pro-hacker to get that information.

There are lots of steps you can take to keep yourself safe online. We want to encourage everyone to take them.

If you’re concerned that you’re not understanding your privacy settings well, let us know. Myself at Ugly Ducklings Inc and Dana at Bullies Keep Out are kind of privacy pros… so if you want us to take a poke around your Facebook and let you know where you might be compromising your privacy, shoot us an e-mail, or leave a comment, and we will let you know.

If you want us to tell you how easy it is to find you on social media, we can do that too. If you’re being hacked or bothered on social media, Dana is an excellent source for you. So don’t hesitate to reach us. We will do everything we can to help!

– Erin


2 thoughts on “Cyber Security Awareness Month – Take care of your info

  1. Pingback: How much of my personal information is public? | The Ugly Ducklings

  2. This is such a great topic! Cyber security is one of the things I’m focusing on in my study and yesterday we came to the conclusion during a lecture that the real issue here is the lack of awareness of how much of your information is actually out there for the world to see. Besides the cyber crime, think about it, if you’re looking for a job, do you really want any employers or recruiters to see any pictures of you drunk for example? What would their impression of you be? It’s a fact that recruiters do online background checks of job applicants, including checkups on social media, whether you like it or not. Your social media pages can tell a lot about. They’ve all sorts of cues, self generated (everything you yourself post on there), other generated (e.g. pictures you’re tagged in, posts others post on your Facebook wall etc) and system generated cues (e.g. the amount of Facebook friends you have, how many followers on Twitter). Believe it or not, but all of these cues tell people something about your personality. This is called the Brunswikian Lens Model. People make judgments about you with the blink of an eye just by looking at your social media accounts.

    Scared yet? I know, we also came to the conclusion that some people aren’t even bothered by these kind of stories. But if you are, here are some additional tips:

    – If you want to check what people can find out about you in search engines, open a private new window (shortcut on a Windows computer keyboard is ctrl+shift+N Mac is Shift+N) and start searching for your name on a search engine. The reason for you to work in a private browser is that in normal browsing mode, your search results will be tailored for you based on your previous actions online.
    – Did you know that Facebook has a setting that allows your account to stay hidden in search engines?
    – There are several tools available to mass delete your tweets on Twitter. Examples are and Some of these should even allow you to automatically delete tweets after a certain time.
    – You can set your Instagram account on private and only people who you allow to follow you, can see your pictures

    Tip number 1: be careful what your post online, because it can influence your future

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