In our country, it is estimated that 5.9 million Portuguese use social networks, which is more than half of the total population, according to data from . Internet Barometer Markettest October 2021. Although disconnection is one of the main holiday aspirations, the vast majority of residents, according to cybersecurity experts at Seresco, a payroll processing and human resource management company, realize they use their mobile phones more from June to September. . Specifically, activity intensity can double and usage hours can increase by up to 30%, according to some benchmark studies and as explained by Seresco’s security team.
Despite the increased levels of activity, many Portuguese are unaware of their level of exposure on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn. To prevent data or identity theft, it is advisable to adopt good usage practices, including adjusting profile privacy settings, using strong passwords, controlling permissions granted to applications, avoiding corporate emails to stick to social networks and avoiding posting sensitive information that threatens privacy or affects personal or professional field.
The cybersecurity experts at Seresco compiled the level of user exposure on each of the social networks in their latest report”Data processing on social networks“.
Facebookthe social network that contains the most user data
Zuckerberg’s social network gets the most data. Users can add place of residence, work, study, emotional status, family members, phone numbers, email, religious beliefs, gender or date of birth, among others. It is worth noting that the sharing of photos can reach friends of friends, and therefore the vastness of the network can become practically available to everyone. Meanwhile, through the web-based Messenger, the user’s last activity can be checked. If the first thing many users do in the morning and the last thing they do at the end of the day is to check their messages, it is possible to find out a person’s sleep schedules and nighttime habits.
Instagram And the Twitter
These two platforms work in a similar way. In the case of Instagram, the account must be set to Public in order to get the necessary information. On the other hand, if it is private, it is necessary that the user accept these followers. Both get the number of followers and followers, mentions, profile picture, and the geo-location of where the content is posted, which makes it possible to know the exact habits, dates and addresses, as well as the personal likes of that profile.
LinkedIn provides a professional profile, photo, website, company name, or studies for a specific person, as well as a list of all company employees. This social network has become the preferred network for cybercriminals to carry out phishing attacks.
In TikTok, there is not as much meta information as before, since the videos do not contain geolocation or metadata. However, these videos can be easily downloaded to use other types of hacking techniques like “Deepfake”.
Social networks have gone beyond the personal boundaries of users, and it has also become another platform for managing business. Each of them has its own characteristics, but they all have in common the disclosure of personal data that, in the hands of cybercriminals, can become vulnerable to theft of personal information or identity theft. In order to raise cybersecurity awareness this summer, Seresco has put together a series of recommendations in its report to help make reasonable use of these platforms.
- Reduce the amount of information that is shared, for example if the user is on vacation and their home is empty.
- Disable geolocation when sharing photos or videos.
- Be very careful with the content that will be posted, because it is very easy to tell the user’s tastes.
- Keep profiles as private as possible, giving access only to people you know.
- Use strong passwords and, if possible, use two-factor authentication.
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