Beauty & Brains in Branding & Web

Social Media Security: Online Tips for Protecting Your Home

blog_02_300x120The recent celebrity photo leak has made many of us stop and question how safe we are on the web and the security risks that accompany social media use. The reality is that most of us aren’t aware of how easy it is to hack into social media profiles and just how common cyber attacks really are.

Leaked photos aside, your social media profiles can actually pose a real security risk to your home. Without thinking of who’s watching, we tweet our vacation plans, check in to various places on Facebook, and essentially let the world know where we are, when, and for how long. Burglars and home invaders who gain access to this information can take advantage of it to target you for home invasion.

The movie “The Bling Ring” was based on the true story of home invaders using social media to locate the home addresses of various celebrities and using their updates to figure out the perfect time to strike. If you think this could only happen in Hollywood, think again. According to a recent survey of 50 ex-burglars in the UK, an overwhelming majority admitted to using social media updates to determine when to rob a home. And to help them out even further, there’s Google Street View, letting home invaders scope out potential homes in advance.

Another misconception is the time of day that burglaries occur. You may think that tweeting your morning Starbucks run is no big deal but the reality is that twice as many burglaries happen during the day than at night. Your status updates can give a very accurate description of your daily routines, making your home an attractive target.

So what can you do to avoid becoming the target for a home invasion?

1) Do not tweet your vacation plans or your whereabouts online. You are basically inviting burglars to target your home.

2) Do not post your home address online. This may seem like common sense, but you should also avoid posting photos in front of your house, especially beside your front door.

3) Avoid using public profiles. Ensure only your friends can see your posts.

4) Only add your real friends to your social profiles. Burglars try and gain access to people profiles by making fake accounts with attractive pictures of complete strangers.

5) Close your home windows and don’t hide your keys by the front door. Under the doormat is the first place home invaders look.

We use social media for entertainment – to connect with friends, and share our experiences – but most of us never stop to think that others can have more sinister motives. It’s not about closing down all your accounts or double bolting all your doors and windows. Being a smart social media user requires a few simple adjustments, and mostly just common sense. Once we are aware that people are watching, we can be aware of what we are letting them see.

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