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Rahul Thadani
5 things you should never reveal on social networks
November 21, 2012

Facebook risks

Many people fail to notice how their online lives endanger their day to day lives. An overload of information shared online, especially over social networks, is perhaps the biggest risk. Constant access to our devices and phones also allows us to share information at a level never seen before. But on the other hand, this also exposes us to several privacy risks and other threats.

Moreover, the anonymity of the Internet causes people to vent out feelings and share information that they would not have shared otherwise. Unfortunately, nothing on the web is anonymous anymore. With the right tools, anyone can be tracked down and any hidden/deleted piece of information can be found.

This suits cyber criminals and malicious parties. Some attackers abuse this information for innocent fun whereas some actively hunt for data to exploit so that they can gain from it. In other cases, reactions to something innocent are severe and bring unpredictable repercussions that can be studied in detail here. With that in mind, here are 5 things you should never share over social networks.

Intimate or compromising photos of yourself
Contrary to popular belief, once something is posted online it stays there, even after it is deleted. You may not think it is a big deal to post compromising pictures/videos today, but this viewpoint is sure to change if you view the same image after a few years. Additionally, more and more recruiters are scouring through social networks today to judge an aspiring candidate. Do you want them to see unsavory images of you online? If not, avoid posting such content in the first place.

Personal phone numbers and address
When posts that share personal phone numbers and addresses are made public, there is bound to be someone who misuses that information. Many applications and features over social networks ask for such details, but it is best to withhold this information. Furthermore, do not post your number or address on public forums (or walls) as this will expose your private details to unwanted parties.

Abusive and incriminating posts against someone
Grievances against teachers, bosses and institutions should not be posted over social networks. You simply cannot predict if and when such posts will be viewed by the party that is the subject of your ire. And this could lead to unwanted consequences. A large number of people have been fired, arrested or more due to such posts. So if you have something unpleasant to say about someone, it is best to do so in private.

Personal banking details and credit/debit card numbers
It is fine to provide bank details and card numbers for a financial transaction online. But who in their right frame of mind would post such details over a social network? This is the worst possible platform to share such data and one must refrain from doing so, even if someone specifically asks for these credentials.

Constant updates and vacation plans
We strongly suggest that one avoids posting constant location updates and other similar posts. Keeping the social network informed about what you are constantly up to feels natural to some, but there are many malicious parties just waiting to pounce on such details. There have been several cases where people have been stalked and homes have been burgled, all thanks to a revealing status update.

Over exposure of information is something that can be avoided at any time. Think twice before you post or share anything over social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The information can be seen by malicious parties, authorities and potential online predators. Apart from this, ensure that your system and all the programs you run are updated. Also ensure that your system protection software runs on the latest build.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Rahul Thadani
About Rahul Thadani
Rahul is a web enthusiast and blogger, and has been writing about the computer security industry for the last three years. Following the latest technology trends,...
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49 Comments

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  1. Ketan KakadeNovember 22, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Its true about social networking. I wants to know, If I upload some personal/private photos on say Gmail, And sent it to my friend or sent to myself or saved in my drafts folder,will it be safe? or precaution need to be taken for that photos?? Can anybody see that photos? or they will be safe as its my account? Please tell in detail.

    Reply
    • Hi Ketan,
      While most times such content is safe, you never know when a leak may occur. There are many avenues through which such photos can be lost or stolen. However, this does not mean that you should never store content here. But you should at least ensure that nothing confidential or compromising is stored here.
      Regards.

      Reply
      • If I’m using 2-stp authorization for Gmail,is it possible hackers to hack
        it? Can they still access my private photos?? Also,I can check my last account activity when lastly I was logged into Gmail.It will give me info about whether my account was hacked or not?
        And if they still hack it,what is the right way,I can store my personal photos on internet,Is there any way?

        Reply
        • Hi Ketan,
          Two-factor authentication prevents hackers to a large extent since they require an additional piece of information to access your account. But unfortunately, no technique is completely hack proof. Yes, you can check the account activity table to see if there is any unusual activity in your account from strange locations. You should store personal photos on your computer or on an external storage device. You can keep a copy on the Internet using cloud storage but there is always a chance of losing them here.
          Regards.

          Reply
          • Ketan KakadeNovember 23, 2012 at 6:45 PM

            how to keep a copy of photos on the Internet using cloud storage?
            Please tell in detail.

          • Hi Ketan,
            You can visit the website of a service like Dropbox. To learn how it works and how it needs to be set up, you can follow the simple instructions that are provided there.
            Regards.

  2. Constitutional section 19(1)A states that everybody has his/her right to put an personal opinion – freedom of speech..Is it not applicable to social media? i knw behind each right there are some duties…But to shut/ban expressions n arresting persons due to some posts/liking/sharing on social media – is it a offence? If it limits then why used the word- personal opinion?

    Reply
    • For the simple reason that “personal opinion” means “to be kept personal” and not to be shared in public forum such as social site (Ex. Facebook). Nowadays people share that they brushed there teeth, drank tea and such type of silly foolish stuffs in social sites.

      Reply
    • yup u r right …i also agree with u ,but the people outside there r not so kind and wellwishers of us.see for ex. a photo/post u upload on facebook is personal for u & ur friends …but for hackers nothing is private/personal…so for any parties or people outside!Its always better 2 take precautions than cure!

      Reply
  3. meeya thakkarNovember 22, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    hi rahul. its a very good attempt by you. well done . keep it up

    Reply
  4. Yes it is true but hardly 1% of FB users follow this ….

    Reply
  5. Yours five things are realistic things. But I want to know that it is not possible to prevent such antisocial elements by controlling their network contacts on the basis of the complaints given by innocent users. It may help afterwards for all users.

    Reply
  6. hey.. once i had an unknown friend on fb.
    later on she started like harrasing me… idont know her in real.
    is there anything i can do now??

    Reply
  7. Fantastic and Useful Information is been provided in this blog post, Will bookmark and send the link to my buddies
    Thanks man!
    Well Appreciated!!

    Reply
  8. Social sites should provide more enhanced security to users. There should not be download button below someone’s picture without permission by user. But still anybody can download that picture from browser’s page options. For any misuse of users data, social sites should provide I.P. addresses from where that crime was done. Still i agree with Mr.Rahul Thadani that everybody should take care of his privacy himself and should not forget that not only social but many other sites can create disturbance in your life,(For Ex., Remember Assam issue).

    Reply
  9. 5 things just read are out of the way to harass and threaten personal basic human rights of a person..just that..if you appear in person surely many would sue for this..strongly advised be refrain from such uncivilized lifestyles..for we all are equal on all grounds..got that? better be..

    Reply
  10. CHANDRAVEER SINGH CHUNDAWAT,Udaipur,IndiaNovember 22, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Hey Guys,
    FB members are increasing day-by-day. In turn lot of rubbish is being uploaded and shared world-wide. Freedom to Right to express is being misutilised. FB people should do some restraining/filtering solution to spread and uplift the ultimate level of FACE BOOK…

    Reply
  11. I am using facilities like mediafire or say dropbox etc. use of it is also a risk ? information stored there may also be leaked ?

    Reply
    • Hi Nirmal,
      Cloud storage can also lead to data leaks thanks to password infiltration. If an attacker gets your Dropbox password he can access it. Moreover, services like this have several content ownership issues. So it is best to own a copy of such data on your machine or an external storage device as well.
      Regards.

      Reply
  12. hi i jst need ur help as now a days m feeling that m mail is hacked cn u help me plz as all details r there

    Reply
    • Hi Harneet,
      In this case you need to change your password immediately. Monitor the account keenly and inform the mail server if you still feel it is hacked. Popular email clients allow you to view latest account activity in a tabular form and also let you enable two-factor authentication. Utilize these features.
      Regards.

      Reply
  13. thanks for valuable information and guidence

    Reply
  14. Thanks Rahul, This is really useful for us.

    Reply
  15. ok i posted several times photos and deleted them on facebook? and according to wat u says that they r still there on network so please tell me wat action i should take??

    Reply
    • Hi Amjid,
      The only action that you can take as a user is to delete the photos. The problem is that these photos remain on Facebook servers for a few months even after deletion. The point here is that you should not post photos that are derogatory, demeaning, discriminatory or dangerous for you in the first place.
      Regards.

      Reply
  16. THANX. IT IS AN EYE OPENER.

    Reply
  17. Swapan Chatterjee hrishikeshNovember 23, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Good Advice for the over all security.

    Reply
  18. yes this is wrote so i am write now closed my id

    Reply
  19. Ok rahul thanks for awareness

    Reply
  20. Nothing particularly unknown, but many a times ignored. An excellent piece of cautionary article. I am a user, not a techie, neither wish to be one. So, I have a propensity to relate technical issues with our daily life wisdom. Look social media sites are a domain in the world wide information highway; practically no barriers, consequently posing unbelievable potential and equally unbelievable dangers. just take reasonable precautions that you take on a crowded road, market place, highway etc. You do not scatter your photos, identity pointers, personal information etc, do you? You lock your door while going out, do not keep it open or ajar, do you?
    The best piece of advice is, however, that your data may be filched from cloud. So, better store it on your computer, do not share passwords, run regular anti virus updates, clean the system from time to time, do not post any contentious issues, do not trawl exotic ( I hope you understand what I mean) sites, avoid http sites, do not click on unknown links, do not fall to greed or needless curiosity, avoid cyber cafes, keep a dongle, and keep a backup on an external hard disk.
    Keep it simple, you will be safe.

    Reply
  21. Good Advice for the over all security knowledge.

    Reply
  22. Thanks very much for your advice….my yahooemail is often hacked or controled by curious people…Do you have any ideas to help me with this. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Hung,
      If you are suspicious that your email ID has been hacked into, you must contact the security and help center of the email service you are using and notify them of the same. Also, change your password of the ID and also for any affiliated accounts or services that you have.
      Regards.

      Reply
  23. Bharat MehtaNovember 23, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Agrred, but these things require common sense (which is very uncommon) in using ccs, atm etc. to save from future problems.

    Reply
  24. Ansumay DattaNovember 23, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Very good advice.

    Reply
  25. BHAI , THAT IS REALLY VERY TRUE , AND I AM REALLY AGREED WITH YOU. THAT IS IMPORTANT FOR WE ALL.

    Reply
  26. Jagdish TamyaNovember 23, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Thank You Quick Heal

    Reply
  27. Rev.Paramsingh M.SangmaNovember 24, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Thank You for active service

    Reply
  28. Rev.Paramsingh M.SangmaNovember 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    I am very glad to see such wonderful service from XHTML

    Reply
  29. Rev.Paramsingh M.SangmaNovember 24, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Thank You so much

    Reply
  30. Rev.Paramsingh M.SangmaNovember 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    I am very happy to see your service

    Reply
  31. Rev.Paramsingh M.SangmaNovember 24, 2012 at 12:45 AM

    thank so much

    Reply
  32. hii Rahul

    I have 32bit quick heal product key bat I am cheng windos 64 bit this product key not worked hw to fix it?

    Reply
  33. hello rahul
    this is mayank from delhi..i got a unusual complication while filing aiims post graduation form online, i needed to pay 1016.5 rs as according to instruction of site and using my sbi master card i did the same but each time i clicked ‘pay’ on final step on sbi portal there comes a message that ‘chrome couldnt find the page’ and so simply i thought its a network error nd i tried it for 5 times later on i found that they deducted 5,000 rs from my account nd now aims site is also showing paid nd sbi authorities on phone are saying that they got merchant id so its resolved nd nt returning my amnt.. i really dont understand what happened wid me nd i never did any online payment to any body during that and after that..so can u plz giv me some insight abt it..
    thanks !!

    Reply
    • Hi Mayank,
      This is a serious issue and you deserve to get your money back. Get a receipt from aiims showing how much money they have received from you. Then visit your bank and show this to them and tell them to check your transactions and return the excess money. If the bank refuses you should visit your local authorities.
      Regards.

      Reply
  34. hello rahul ,
    I heard about a incident that in Bangalore many face book accounts are hacked and their details and pics were misused ,I don’t know its true or not, But for the safer side what should one do because, i told many of my friends and sisters not to upload any personal photos in face book after this incident I got so afraid,so tell me if anyone wants to upload their pics in social networking site for sharing it with their friends what privacy options they should enable in face book.

    Reply
    • Hi Arjun,
      Facebook regularly changes their privacy and sharing options without warning. So we need to constantly go through them and enable the most suitable features for us. Ideally, no sensitive or private photos should ever be uploaded on the social network. Photo sharing should only be enabled for connected friends. If a friend has uploaded a photo and tagged you, you will be notified and you can then untag yourself or request the picture be removed.
      Regards.

      Reply
  35. thank you Rahul …

    Reply