Sharing too much information helps cyber-criminals

There have been many instances on Facebook and other social media intent on separating the consumer from their private, confidential data. One of the latest noted was a way to choose an alternative name for yourself. The questionnaire asked for the respondent’s parent’s last name, the street they grew up on, pet’s name, and other data. To most people, this would seem to be innocuous, and a fun little game. The people put this data in, and the app responds with a new comical name for you based on the data.

What is not so funny with this activity is the consumers providing this data unknowingly have also provided, unknowingly, the much of the information an identity thief would need to steal the person’s identity and begin to leverage this. Although this is clearly not all the data they would need to secure person’s identity, get new credit cards, or other credit, this certainly helps the criminal move along with the data they would need to perpetrate such a crime. They could also secure needed data from other sources individually or leverage this to get the other data.

Personal information should be kept personal or should be kept personal or shared only with people you know, not just a computer screen with anyone on the other end.

There has also been the relatively new form of providing too much personal data known as sharenting, or parents who decide to share too much of their children’s information social media. The parents may provide the full, legal names for their children along with birth dates as they post too much of their child’s life for everyone to see.

In both examples, the consumers and parents have a false sense of security, as they have been lulled into believing these are fine, and not an issue. The seemingly innocent act of sharing with “friends” has direct consequences at times.

About the Author - Charles Parker, II has been working in the info sec field for over a decade, performing pen tests, vulnerability assessments, consulting with small- to medium-sized businesses to mitigate and remediate their issues, and preparing IT and info sec policies and procedures. Mr. Parker’s background includes work in the banking, medical, automotive, and staffing industries.

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