Roses are red, violets are blue – what does your personal data say about you?

With Valentine’s Day today, February 14, make sure you aren’t as careless as Guinevere Beck from the hit Netflix series “You”!

Netflix’s You has ignited a discussion around online privacy and traceability. It showed just how easy it was for the lead character Joe Goldberg to track Beck via her social media accounts and find out where she lives, what she has been up to, etc.

Unfortunately, the omnipresence of social media is divulging more information than one intends to, and it may not always end up in safe hands.

McAfee, the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company, revealed that people do trawl through social media to find out more about people they are interested in. If the first social media account they head to is private, they will search for another account to see if they can get access to information or updates.

People often find out more than they bargained for, with some saying they discovered where someone lived by looking them up online. Perhaps this is not entirely surprising, considering people have posted a picture of the front of their house online.

Despite Instagram’s growing popularity, Facebook is still the most popular way to look up an ex or romantic interest, making it more than twice as popular as Instagram.

McAfeeChief Scientist and McAfee Fellow, Raj Samani:

“Online dating has become the norm and it’s wise to attempt to verify a love interest’s identity before meeting them in a public place. Knowing this though, social media users need to consider what and how much information they’re sharing. Restricting who’s able to view personal information, such as your date of birth, will help ensure that only people you know, and trust are able to access details which can put your identity at risk and be used by cybercriminals to conduct fraudulent activity.”

Tips from McAfee about how to protect your information online:

Watch out for geo-tagging. Many social networks will tag a user’s location when uploading a photo, as well as offering users the option to tag their location when posting. You should ensure this feature is turned off to avoid disclosing your location to criminals or people you would not want to know your whereabouts.

Don’t overshare on social media. Oversharing online can paint a picture of us very quickly. Keep sensitive data such as your date of birth, address, job, or names of family members private. Also, rethink whether you really want your relationship status made public.

Sharing is not always caring. Only share photos and other social media posts with your intended audience. If you have blocked an individual, make sure they stay out of your social media feeds. Services like Facebook and Instagram have features that allow posts to be viewed only by confirmed connections. Check your privacy settings regularly, as they often change.

Be careful who you befriend online. Only accept friend requests from people you know in real life. Often hackers or criminals will send requests so they can see the information you are sharing to help them access your private information.

Set up unique logins for each app you are using. Setting up a different password for each app or account you use is a great way to protect yourself and your data online. If you no longer use a social media account, delete your information and deactivate your account. (McAfee)

Image source of Valentine’s Day via Pixabay.

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