How much of my personal information is public?

How much of my personal information is public?

Have you ever asked yourself that question?

As we mentioned in our previous post, October is Cyber Security Awareness month, and it’s a good moment to reflect on how your data online can be bait for others to take it and use it.

Just to make you more conscious of how things work on the internet, here’s Maaike’s list of strategies to protect your personal information.

Your future employer might not hire you

Cyber security is one of the things I’m focusing on in my study, and we came to the conclusion in one of the lectures 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.

how much of your personal information is out there for people to see?And it’s not just about cyber crime. What if it’s time for you to look for a job, and your employers or recruiters do a search on Google, and find 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 (it’s becoming more and more popular), including checkups on social media, whether you like it or not.

Your social media pages can say a lot about you. They have all sorts of cues

  • self generated: everything you yourself post on there
  • generated by others: pictures you’re tagged in, posts other people post on your Facebook wall, etc.
  • system generated cues: the amount of Facebook friends you have, how many followers on Twitter.

You may 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:

Tips for protecting your personal information

  • A Google search about you

If you have Google Chrome, 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. Mozilla Firefox also has this option.

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 (the not-so-yummy cookies, remember?)

  • No Facebook on Google, please
facebook-hide-profile-search-engines

Click for BIGGER version

Did you know that Facebook has a setting that allows your account to stay hidden in search engines? Go right now to your privacy settings, and look for the option. Here’s a screenshot of where you can find the option to disable the search engines to link to your timeline.

  • Buh-bye tweets

There are several tools available to mass delete your tweets on Twitter. Examples are tweetdelete.com and tweetdeleter.com. Some of these should even allow you to automatically delete tweets after a certain time.

  • Instagram is all about you

You can set your Instagram account on private and only people who you allow to follow you, can see your pictures.

  • Additional info to stay safe

There is a very interesting website called Kim Komando that has lots of very useful information about cyber security. You should definitely check it out, and educate yourself about this matter.

be careful with what you post online. it can  influence your future

Special thanks to Maaike for the information for this post, and to Marlene, a victim of cyber crime, who provided us with the Kom Komando Show website.

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