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Cyber Strategies Blog

Sharing isn't always caring - especially online

What are you posting online and how is it affecting you?

Social media has normalised sharing on the internet. But even the most innocent information, like photos from your trip, your weekend plans or job updates, should be thought of as oversharing in the age of social engineering.

That’s because every piece of information you share online can be used against you. Staying secure gets more and more exhausting the more sophisticated cybercriminals become but practicing operational security (OPSEC for short) is a great way to frame your thinking when posting online.

3 steps to staying secure online

1. Limit personal information shared on your social profiles

While social media is all about chatting and sharing, you should be cautious about what you say and who can see it. Seemingly harmless information can give hackers the ammunition they need to launch a phishing attack.

In general, you should never share your location or plans, even though bragging about your upcoming holiday may be tempting. Hackers can use location data to tailor their attacks, while thieves may use it to case your place.

You should also avoid sharing details about your employer. And beware of photos and details that could give people answers to your security questions: things like which school you attended, the street you grew up on and so on.

While having no social media at all is the best way to keep people out of your business, the next best thing you can do is keep a low profile.

2. Declutter your office — especially what’s in view of your webcam

You’ve probably heard the horror stories about hackers gaining access to webcams, but you might not have considered the ways in which you’re exposing yourself when you use yours.

In the era of virtual work, anyone can take a peek into your personal life on a conference call. That’s why you should be aware about what documents and other sensitive information are visible in your frame.

Before virtual meetings, clear your workspace, secure files and check reflective surfaces to get a glimpse at what others may be able to see. This will get you into the habit of ensuring personal materials are always out of sight.

When you are not using your webcam try to remember to keep it covered. You can use a purpose made webcam cover or a sticky note works just as well!

3. Get creative when setting up account security questions

When it comes to securing your accounts, your best defence is nonsense. Instead of giving standard answers to security answers, try responding with something silly or nonsensical.

When asked what your childhood pet’s name was, for example, you might write “magenta” instead of “Buddy.” Or you may say you met your spouse at “lasagna.”

In addition to providing unique answers, you can also type them in all lowercase letters so they’re easy to remember.

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