At lunch time, I like to catch up on news reports from Boston and Amsterdam. I was curious about the development of the war against cyber criminals and found something that caught my attention.
I came across an article that warned us social media users about what kind of information you are sharing on the internet. A survey from a British based insurance company came up with some interesting results. It seems that 40 percent of the social media users are sharing their holiday plans and 33 percent are sharing their weekend plans. We already know about cybercrime and hackers, but social media brings another type of criminal, the social media burglar. It’s not difficult for a burglar to determine when you are on vacation when you are tweeting about when and where you go.
“Taking precautions like setting your home’s lights on a timer is great, but if your Facebook or Twitter account is shouting, ‘Loving sunny Florida!! Be back April 5!’ a potential burglar knows you’re not home,” said Kevin Smith, Webmaster and manager of McBryde Website Design.
Sharing information and pictures with new friends on the internet can be dangerous, but that’s old news. Still, most people are willing to share enough details about their arrival and departure to make it critical information for a burglar. Especially Twitter, it’s so easy to drag about your vacation plans and how long you take off from work. Facebook is a different story, you are able to lock your profile and make it just accessible for friends. But then again, if you have pictures of your living room and entire house, it can be used as a map of your house. And if you share your holiday plans on the internet, a burglar can commit the perfect crime.
I’m not here to say that we must act paranoid, and not trust anyone anymore, but the internet is a place filled with fakers and false identities. So, be cautious with what you share and who is able to read it.
Facebook and Twitter are wonderful social networks and will bring us to the next level of communicating, but in the wrong hands, it is possible that they can be used for criminal purposes.
Mick van Est