Love them or loathe them, selfies are here to stay. Whether we’re showing off outfits, taking shots in front of famous landmarks or just showing the world what a great time we’re having, the selfie is now the most common way to get ourselves out there online.
But did you also know that selfies can compromise your online security, and even get you hacked?
Any photo can show details of your life; the contents of your house, your car, the place you take your vacations. It can tell people where you go to school, where you do your banking, where you usually hang out. Anything that appears in the background of a selfie can help to identify you, and every single bit of identifying information makes you less safe. A dedicated identity thief or hacker can use a series of selfies to put together a cohesive picture of your life and what you do with it, and that can lead to trouble for you.
Most people don’t know about social engineering, an entirely different form of hacking. With social engineering, hackers use information that they’ve gained about you from things like social media posts, photos and selfies to steal your identity. They then use psychological manipulation to gain access to your information – or worse.
In many ways, it is easier to “hack” people than it is to hack software, and social engineering relies on this. Once a person has enough details about you or your life, they can manipulate you into trusting them, and once they have this trust, they can make you divulge your personal information.
They could also use this information to blackmail you, or to manipulate your friends into believe that they are you online. This means that your friends can also be at risk.
The only way of avoiding this sort of hacking is to keep a strict lock down of what you share online. Be sure not to let slip where you work, where you live, or any identifying information to the wider world.
And remember: Sometimes a selfie isn’t just a selfie. Sometimes, it’s a security risk.
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