Social media becomes increasingly dangerous the more it becomes popular. I recently read an interesting story about a frequent "Tweeter" whose house was burglarized after an ill advised post. The man informed his Twitter network that he was leaving on vacation the following day. The post was simple: Finally going on vacation! Not anything anyone of us wouldn't think to post ourselves.
Of course he had his twitter account synced with Facebook, Tumblr and a few other social networking sites possibly sharing this information with tens of thousands of people. They haven't linked the post to the break in. It could be a random event, however, the point wasn’t lost on me that many burglars will stop at nothing to burglarize homes. We tend to think that internet and computer security has nothing to do with physical reality. But the two are definitely linked and you need to think about keeping both secure. Here are some security tips that work in both the physical and digital worlds:
- Watch What You Say: In the digital world, as in the physical, you need to avoid advertising that you are away. If you bother to stop mail and newspaper deliveries while you’re gone, hire a house sitter like a trusted neighbor or family member will ensure your home looks occupied while away and arrange to have your yard work taken care of in the summer, and snow removal in the winter, then why render all of these preparations moot by announcing to the internet that your home is empty.
- Know your friends: Keeping a tight rein on your private and personal information is key. This holds true both for information you share as well as regulating the people you share with. It makes sense that the more personal information you share with people the more likely you are to eventually become the target of a scam or break in. Don't accept friend requests from people you don't know and if you have people following you, be careful about what you post.
- Teach Your Kids: Stranger Danger is important to teach your kids even more so online since anonymity is so easily abused. You kids need to know not to divulge any personal information, or give out information like family schedules, addresses, places of employment, planned trips or vacations, phone numbers, and information about the physical makeup of the family residence. Even posting about the consumer electronics equipment and other valuable family possessions under any circumstance can be dangerous. Staking out homes virtually is much safer than in person, after all.