Think before you post: the security implications of social media

Social media can be pretty addictive: apps like Facebook and Instagram tap into those parts of us that love to talk, show off our achievements and broadcast our views. It’s so easy to click, like, check in and post without a second thought. But have you ever considered who might be reading your posts? If you don’t properly secure your account or are a little too free and easy with your personal details online, that holiday story or that beach selfie could attract the wrong kind of attention.

To a burglar, such posts – anything, in fact, indicating that you are out and about – are a big flashing red arrow that you are not at home, making a break-in far easier and less risky if they know where you live. Your valuables could prove too tempting a target to resist.

Maybe you don’t really need to discuss your holiday adventures on social media until you return home? But if you must, here a few ways to protect yourself.

Check your privacy settings

Is your account open to the world – or just to trusted friends and family? This is an especially important consideration with the notoriously leaky Facebook.

Think twice before accepting friend requests from people you only know casually

…and don’t accept any from people you don’t know at all!

Be careful about personal details

…whether in posts or about boxes. Don’t make it easy for those with dubious motives to work out where you live, for example.

Do you really need to share your location?

Often switched on by default in smartphone social media apps, location sharing can give away just a little too much about your location.

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