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Mercedes Oliveira

graphic designer

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The dangers of sharing data online
July 29, 2019

We live in a world where we share everything online.  We’re in a no-holds-barred era of social media, and we don’t care who knows it.

But we should.

So eager are we to share where we’ve been what we’ve had for dinner or how fast we completed last night’s 5k, we’re forgetting that we’re leaving a raft of digital clues and footprints for anyone to follow – and some of those followers may not have our best interests at heart.

A prime example of this was a man that had £12,500 worth of bikes stolen from his home, and all because he had been using the app Strava to post his route and cycle times.

Criminals then used that information (that was publicly available) to work out where he was cycling and on which routes, and then using that information to track where he lived – and consequently stole a collection of five bikes.

Thieves are quick to put 2 and 2 together and are making the often-accurate assumption, that the people who are posting quick cycle times probably have the better equipment – and in this case, they were right.

In an age where we are compelled to share everything, we are inadvertently using social media as a shop window for thieves.

Tips for sharing content online safely:

  • Check your Facebook privacy settings, so you have complete control over who sees your content.
  • Consider disabling GPS information used by some photo sharing sites.
  • Cycling and running apps such as Strava have the option to hide your start and finish points – use it!
  • Keep it vague – the less you reveal about yourself online, the less information there is to track you. For example, a town is ok, but avoid your street name.

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