Updated on November 3, 2023.
Oversharing on social media can be dangerous because of the tendency to expose sensitive information which jeopardizes your privacy and security. Today, social media is a prevalent method of communication, and sharing the highlights of our daily lives has become the norm. Unfortunately, there are many risks associated with oversharing your life on social media platforms. Oversharing on social media allows cyber criminals to learn more about you and use that information against you.
Continue reading to learn more about what is considered oversharing on social media, the risks that come from oversharing, what threatens your social media and how to avoid oversharing on social media.
Oversharing on social media exposes intimate details about your personal life such as relationships, friendships, family matters or your daily routine. Although it may be fun to let others know what is going on with your life, you can accidentally let them know too much about it and give up your privacy.
Some examples of oversharing on social media include:
- Regularly posting who you are with
- Posting all of your interests, hobbies and activities
- Posting intimate details about yourself such as your personal thoughts and secrets
- Posting about your relationships, friendships, family members and personal drama
- Enabling the geographic location on your posts
- Constantly posting pictures of what you are wearing
- Posting work-related information on your account
Simple details about your routine or geographical location make you vulnerable to cyber criminals who can learn about your life and use this information against you. Work-related information should always stay confidential because oversharing can put your company at risk of a security breach and expose sensitive internal information.
Oversharing can make it easier for cyber criminals to learn important details that can give them access to your online accounts. A lot of users create passwords using personal information to make them easier to remember. This allows cyber criminals to crack passwords more easily as they can learn that information about you on social media. The following are some of the risks that come from oversharing on social media.
Identity theft is when someone steals a victim’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) without permission and uses it to impersonate the victim and commit fraud. PII is the data that can identify a person such as their address, email, phone number or Social Security number. Cyber criminals can steal this information through cyber attacks, data breaches or a person’s social media profile.
A person’s social media profile can share personal details which can help cyber criminals steal their identity. Once a cyber criminal steals a victim’s identity, they can impersonate the victim to commit crimes such as credit card fraud.
Social engineering is the psychological manipulation used to get others to do things or reveal private information. Social engineering starts by gathering information about a target. Cyber criminals can learn a lot about their victims by looking at their social media to find out their interests and online behavior. Once the information has been collected, cyber criminals can tailor their social engineering attacks to their victims with the information found on social media.
These social engineering attacks have the goal of either installing malware on your device or tricking you into revealing personal information such as your login credentials through methods like phishing attacks.
Cyber harassment is any online behavior that is inappropriate, mean or uncomfortable. It often includes cyberstalking and cyberbullying. Cyberstalking is a type of stalking conducted using technology through means of unwanted messages and monitoring of a victim’s activities. Cyberstalking can use information found on social media to monitor a victim’s activity and make the victim fear for their safety through harassment or threats.
Compromised physical security
Sharing sensitive information such as your location and personal belongings can threaten your physical security. After learning about some of your personal belongings such as expensive jewelry or equipment, cyber criminals can physically attack you and steal your belongings once they learn about your location.
Oversharing on social media can jeopardize your reputation amongst your peers and work colleagues. If you accidentally post something inappropriate, offensive or compromising of your character, you can harm your reputation and ruin current or future job opportunities. If you post any confidential files from your company, you can jeopardize your company and potentially lose your job. You could also create a personal strain with your peers who may want to cut ties with you.
Oversharing on social media can expose you to cyber threats that can compromise your online accounts. You need to recognize these threats to avoid them.
An account takeover is a type of identity theft where cyber criminals gain access to someone’s online account by utilizing stolen credentials. Cyber criminals often steal login credentials through data breaches or password cracking. They can use personal information about you to guess your password and take over your account. Once a cyber criminal has taken over your account, they can change the login credentials to lock you out and do whatever they want with your account, such as impersonating you to scam others or commit fraud.
If a cyber criminal learns about your daily routines or travel plans, they can execute Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. MITM attacks are a type of cyber attack in which the cyber criminal intercepts data between two exchanging parties.
This attack relies on network manipulation or the creation of malicious networks, under the control of cyber criminals, which operate as the “middlemen” between the sender and the recipient of information, altering the traffic and intercepting data.
If you share your daily routines and travel plans, a cyber criminal can execute a MITM attack when you are out in public. Logging in to your accounts on an unsecured public Wi-Fi network puts you at risk of somebody intercepting your data.
Phishing attacks are when a cyber criminal tricks you into revealing your sensitive information such as your login information. Cyber criminals often send emails or text messages with the goal of having you click a malicious attachment or link that leads to a spoofed website. Once you either open a malicious attachment or click on the link, malware can be installed onto your device to steal your personal information. Some phishing attacks try to trick you into revealing your login credentials on fake websites that look like legitimate ones.
These phishing emails and fake websites are often tailored with information found about you on your social media. Cyber criminals can create messages that contain personal information about you and try to gain your trust by impersonating a trusted company you often use.
Password cracking attacks
If you use weak passwords that contain personal information for your accounts, it makes it easier for cyber criminals to crack your passwords using information that has been overshared on social media such as your dog’s name or birthdate. Cyber criminals can perform brute-force attacks, dictionary cracking, password spraying and credential stuffing to guess your login credentials and gain access to your accounts.
You can prevent oversharing on social media with the following best practices:
Be thoughtful about what you post
You can prevent oversharing on social media by being more thoughtful about what you post and following security best practices. A good rule of thumb is to consider if something is appropriate as a public post or if it’s better as a private message. Avoid any compromising posts that can reveal personal information or misrepresent your character.
Monitor who follows you
You should be careful with who follows your social media accounts. Make sure you are careful with whom you share your content. It’s important to identify the platforms you want to use privately and professionally, as this allows you to post appropriate content without jeopardizing your professional reputation. You should also only accept friend requests from people you truly know to avoid any cyber criminals trying to collect information about you.
Secure your accounts
You should make your social media accounts private to control who can view your profile and posts. This will protect you from any cyber criminals trying to gather information about you. You should also protect your social media accounts by using strong passwords. A strong password is at least 16 characters long and is a random combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. It avoids using any personal information, sequences and common passwords.
Another way to secure your accounts is by enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA is a security measure that requires you to provide additional forms of identification along with your username and password to gain access to an account, providing an extra layer of security. Even if a cyber criminal were to get your login credentials, they would not gain access to your accounts because they don’t have the additional authentication factors.
The best way to protect your social media accounts is by not oversharing online. You need to make your online accounts private and be careful of what you post online. You can also protect your accounts by using strong passwords that omit personal information.
Using a password manager can help you generate strong passwords and manage them to identify any weak or compromised passwords. A password manager is a tool that securely stores and manages your personal information in an encrypted vault. Sign up for a free trial of Keeper Password Manager to protect your social media accounts and strengthen your password security.