social media mistakes that can be costly
Oversharing on social media may cost you big money.

Does your camera eat first so you can post your coffee photo on Instagram?  Do you Snapchat your night out? Or immediately post your new passport photo on Facebook? Are your kids part of the “selfie generation” ?
Sharing everything is typical nowadays – and it’s fun. But giving away too much information online can be serious. According to a Microsoft poll from 2013, financial damage from internet drama has already reached $1.4 billion. And if you include possible future damage to your professional reputation, that rockets to $4.6 billion.
What’s scary is that we do most of this damage to ourselves. We do it by oversharing sensitive information online: This includes basic stuff like  your date of birth, phone number, exact address or the name of your pet (which maybe also happens to be the password to your online accounts?). Data leeks like this can easily lead to trouble, ranging from hijacked social media accounts to  identity theft to personalised phishing emails.
Security software company ESET has come up with a list to help you  – and your kids – stay safe in the Universe of Sharing:

Check privacy settings for social network accounts. You can even create separate groups for close friends, colleagues and acquaintances. It’s smart because your boss does not need to see you at that party dancing on the table. Plus, do you really want random thieves knowing your every move?

Don’t share your location with the whole world. Social networks often give you the option to  geotag… but when you post that you just left for vacation (and won’t be home for the next two weeks) it;s like leaving your front door open and saying ” Feel free to drop by and rob me blind”.  For your own sake, turn off this feature and delete saved location information that often re-occurs, such as your home location.

Go through all the groups you joined. Some of these might be ancient (in the social network sense) and their settings might be outdated. If they are still public and open to everyone, be careful of what you post, as the contents can be seen by anyone. Other options are to quit the group or contact the founder and ask them to change the settings.

Use the granny guide. Before you post any comment, or upload a photo or video, imagine showing it to your granny. Would you be comfortable with that? If not, it’s probably best to keep it to yourself.

Look at every photo or video like Sherlock Holmes. Check all the possible details it can give away – including sensitive data. Good examples are photos of you standing in front of your new car (displaying the license plate), or a photo of your new walk-in wardrobe that also accidentally shows your “secret” safe inside. And don’t even think of sharing IC or passport information – that stuff is gold to gangsters who sell fake identities.

Read through the privacy policy of the provider first, before you sign up for a new online service. All that fine print is boring… but you need to know how the company handles your sensitive information. If you are not satisfied, don’t sign up.

Never send sensitive data, such as credit card details, passwords, phone numbers or identification numbers, via messenger apps or by email. And don’t post or display them in any public online space.

Create strong passwords and change them frequently. Unless you are using two- or multi-factor authentication, it is the only thing standing between your data and cyber-thieves. If it’s too much for you to remember all those codes, use a reliable password manager. And install security software that is updated frequently.

With offices in Singapore, Bratislava, San Diego and Buenos Aires ESET® award-winning security software helps over 100 million users. See or follow them for more tips on  LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.