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What Hackers Can Learn About You From Your Social-Media Profile

Portrait of an anonymous man in a black hoodie and neon mask hacking into a computer. Studio shot.

We live in an era where we are more active on social media than in real life. We love sharing our personal information, achievements, happy and sad moments, and likes and dislikes on social media platforms – and there are plenty of them.

The digital age has come with a lot of benefits. It has eased life and made humans more dependent on digital platforms. This increasing dependence has its pros but several cons associated with it.

Human history is riddled with crime. As civilizations evolved, crime also evolved; from identity theft via con acts to rigging and looting money. Crime has also evolved with the advent of the internet and internet-based platforms.

According to a study, 155.8 million individuals were affected by data breaches and cyber-attacks in 2020 alone. So, before you post a cute picture with your pup on social media, you give away important information to hackers.

The hacking community is extremely cunning, and they can easily make a profile of the target by using the available information on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Every like on Facebook, every retweet, and every heart on Instagram reveals intricate details about you.

Rachel Tobac is the CEO of SocialProof Security, a security vulnerability assessment agency. She said, “About 60% of the information I need to craft a good spear phish is on Instagram alone. I usually find everything I need within the first 30 minutes.” 

This is quite an alarming statement; social media engineering and phishing attacks can easily cause a lot of trouble to the victim.

Here’s what kind of information is publicly available to Hackers

When you sign up for any social media website or application, you must provide various information about yourself. This information starts with an email address or phone number to personal and bank account details.

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Country and cities
  • Places visited and stayed
  • Places you worked at
  • Age
  • Your acquittances
  • Current employers and Job title
  • Your interests and hobbies
  • Your styles and buying habits
  • Credit card numbers and other banking details

Hackers can use this information to hurt you. If a hacker gets your credit card details and knows your buying habits, they can use them to make transactions there, knowing you won’t notice. This is simply the beginning of data usage. If hackers can get your social security number, they can use them to apply for credit cards and use those cards to buy stuff in your name or use your details in illegal activities.

Tips to save your digital integrity and save yourself from social engineering

The following tips will help you make your online experiences more secure. But always be vigilant and save yourself by keeping your public information to a minimum.

1.      Think before you post

The old-fashioned proverb “think before you speak” has evolved into “think before you post.” The charm of social media websites is that they tend to get people excited about what they post online. But the more you post publicly, the more you are at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.

As a rule of thumb, don’t post your intimate details online, like details of family members, your travel plans, personal details, and confidential work details.

2.      Never share your personal and work email freely

Hackers can target you for phishing attacks by sending you phishing emails and connecting with you using your online information. They can attack you personally or target your organization’s network. The more you keep your work and personal details undisclosed, the safer you are.

3.      Profile picture

Using a profile picture is a mandatory feature of a lot of networking platforms, and it might be necessary to use these platforms for you for various reasons. If you can not avoid using these sites, try to use a profile picture that does not reveal much detail. Use zoomed-out, simple and minimalistic pictures where necessary.

4.      Only use trusted platforms

In the modern world, data is the most important asset. Social media sites attract people by engaging them in fun online and tricking them into sharing their details. In reality, a lot of companies sell user data to a third party for advertisement and leave their users vulnerable. The data is traded in multiple hands, and consumers’ personal information is exposed. Facebook has been found guilty of selling user data to third parties.

Choose a platform that has a good track record of guarding user data. Avoid platforms with bad reputations.

5.      Share only what is necessary

Sharing everything online is nothing short of foolishness, even if you consider yourself an ordinary person. Is it necessary to share your phone number? Is it obligatory to share your address? If not, then don’t put yourself at risk. According to a study, one out of six people uses pet names in their password, and most of us won’t even think before posting a cute picture of our pet and mentioning their name in the caption. Scary, right?

6.      Don’t accept every friend/ connection/ follow request

Vet your friend request before accepting the request from the person. Ask yourself if you know that person. Do you have a mutual friend or connection? If not, be very careful; you might be at the end of a malicious attack.

7.      Avoid linking your accounts

Linking accounts seem very convenient, but accounts can be accessed with a single click once linked. Suppose your main account has been compromised; your other accounts are automatically hacked. So, avoiding linking can help you save yourself in case of a bad hacking attack on other platforms.

We hope you will remember these tips the next time you log in to your social media accounts and think before hitting the post.

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About the author



Meet Sarah Jones, a prominent female author in the world of gadgets and technology. With a passion for all things tech-related, Sarah has established herself as a leading voice in the industry through her writing for a prominent gadget-based website. Her in-depth knowledge of the latest gadgets, tech innovations, and trends make her an expert in the field.

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