What are you revealing online?

Last updated: 21 March 2014

Social networks have led us to share more than perhaps others would care to know: your state of mind at that party last week; the apple pie you just baked; or the exciting fact that gray clouds are hovering overhead. But there are people out there who are very interested in seeing exactly what you have to say.

At the end of September, the Belgian Federation of the Financial Sector (Febelfin) posted a video online, featuring a mind-reader with an ‘amazing’ gift:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7pYHN9iC9I&w=430&h=315]

This video went viral soon after being posted online, as it’s an issue that resonates with almost every member of the public. We sometimes forget or don’t realise what we’re posting online. Sharing via social networks has become part of the daily routine for millions of people across the world, but we would do better to stop and think from time-to-time. People take care to remove embarrassing photos of themselves on Facebook, yet might think nothing of tweeting a photo of their shiny new credit card, or a receipt for their latest splurge.

Remember, the information revealed by our talented ‘clairvoyant’ is taken entirely from publicly accessible information – this was not the result of hacking an account. We often talk about the importance of strong authentication here on the blog, but this becomes null and void if the information you are sharing when securely logged in to your account is then freely posted on the web for eternity. Once it’s out there, it can be copied and manipulated, until eventually you may find a whole personal profile has effectively been cloned on the web.

Mashable published a useful infographic from Online-Education.net during the summer, exploring this very topic. Thanks to the message spread by this and the Febelfin video to over four million people and counting, hopefully users will take much more care of the digital lives and think twice before revealing all online.

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