Simply put, it all comes down to social media. Many of us feel free to communicate openly on social media platforms, and while you may be sharing content with the intention of reaching your friends, you might also be reaching people who don’t have good intentions. For example, what kinds of personal details do you openly tell others about on Twitter? Information about your life, location, preferences, and even the people you communicate with might seem innocent on its own, but for a motivated hacker, combining these elements together can bring about a pretty complete profile of who you are, which could then be used to try to steal your identity and break in to your accounts.
Text isn’t the only content that hackers can parse, either. In many ways and with certain demographics, photo sharing networks like Instagram are even more popular than standard social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Is your life an open book on Instagram? Can your followers describe everything about who you are and what you like just based on the images that you post?
This might be fine for family and friends, but it’s important to spend some time thinking about how others may view this content and what they might be able to do with what you reveal. In an extreme example, it was recently reported that hackers can even copy your fingerprints from pictures of your fingers.
While having someone steal your fingerprints from a picture isn’t something that’s realistic to be concerned about right now, on a smaller scale, it does highlight why it’s good to be more mindful about what you’re putting out there in the world. Hackers might be known for exploiting weaknesses in computer systems, but they can also exploit weaknesses in your social media habits, especially if you’re an attractive target.