Your Social Media Shares Could Be Endangering You

Illustration by LiveRez

For the love of social media, we put our entire lives on the world wide web for everyone to see. We are obsessed with likes, shares, subscribes and “comments down below” that it is no surprise that hackers love our social media shares.

Experts have long warned against the oversharing of information on such public domains. Many people have share their stories on how people have been rejected from a job interview due to raunchy photos on their private Facebook accounts or getting fired over a blog post criticising the employee benefits of a company.

However, the threats that oversharing could bring do not just end at bosses and potential employers. Hackers love the data that you share on your social media accounts and they use it for their own personal benefit at your expense.

Identity Theft 

Hackers can use your identity to apply for bank loans, and other services that require significant amounts of money, without your knowledge.

When a person signs up to these services, institutions require the person to authenticate their identity. Generally, this requires information that pertains to a persons personal life such as Identification Number, date of birth, the name of your first pet, the schools you have attended and your favourite colour. All this information can easily be obtained from your social media sites with a little bit of digging. This is especially so since our entire life history is on display on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Cracking Your Password

Using the information provided on your social media accounts, hackers are able to gain access into your email to retrieve sensitive information. They attempt to decipher your password by systematically trying all the potential passwords you may have chosen.

This attack happens when people do not choose their passwords randomly but instead use familiar words, numbers and names that are remembered easily. Hackers then go through a persons life on social media to pick out words and numbers that are significant to the user like birthdays, names of loved ones and even pet names. People who do not randomise their passwords are at risk of being hacked due to the ease of decryption which is why websites encourage users to choose passwords that have a mix of lower case, upper case, numbers and special characters.

Organisational Hacking

Through the use of social media, hackers can identify high-worth individuals on the company’s social media sites. Individuals who have access to information like payrolls, sensitive documents and top secret projects are the targets of such attacks. The hackers then go to the personal accounts of these individuals to source the possible links that may be of interest to the victim. Hackers then create a malware disguised in an email and send it to the victim hoping that they will open it and give the hackers access to valuable information.

But Wait There’s More

It does not end here.

Hackers are getting increasingly more sophisticated with their attacks and use of information on hand. As this article goes up, more information is going up on the internet voluntarily by individuals who are not aware of such hacks. It is important that you do your part by warning those around you on the threats that oversharing on social media can bring. Always be vigilant and remember to reduce the amount of information you share online.