“If a criminal can easily find out where you are, what stores you frequent, what your daily habits are, who your friends are, and even what your personal food, entertainment, and beverage preferences are, you can be targeted with a level of ease never before possible” David Gewirtz
Of recent I have come to realised that majority of the Nigerian Facebooker’s do not care about the nature of information they share online. It is a common practice to see people sharing their date of birth, phone numbers, and pictures of their family as well as their where about innocently and publicly.
Even though the concept of identity theft, cyber-stalking and social engineering are rarely the norms here, I believe people should henceforth be mindful of their privacy information.
Right now, some right groups in UK and other EU countries are advocating the use of Social insurance number as the only data (apart from date of birth) an individual should provide for any sign up, our people are currently busy updating their whereabouts on Facebook.
I was shocked yesterday, when I was perusing the ‘nearby functionality’ of the Facebook to have seen that one of the former commissioners and adviser on IT in my home state who happens to be my ‘friend’ on Facebook had unknowingly enabled the ‘nearby mode’ which shows that he (just) checked into the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja. Another special adviser (from the same state) was also seen in Murtala Muhammad Airport through the same ‘nearby’ enabled Facebook functionality.
By ‘nearby’, I mean a functionality created by Facebook that uses user’s geolocation to map out user’s exact location.
The implication of this is that, people could easily be targeted as succinctly elaborated by David in the opening quotes.
It is worthy to note that people should be mindful of what they do on the social networking websites, since the windows for susceptibility and vulnerability for someone to expose him/herself to stalkers, conmen and social engineers are wide.
Recently one guy contacted me for a deal on behalf of someone he is prompting who happened to be a ‘closed ally’ to late Gaddafi for oil business deal. On asking how he came across my number, he answered that he got it through a paid advert in one of national dailies which I placed over a year ago. This shows that people with ulterior motives could monitor their target via social networks as long as they want before closing in on their prey.
Another aspect related to this is the status update where people post whatever they feel like posting without having a second thought on their implications. An example was given on one rocket scientist who took some time off from work, telling her employer she couldn’t work in front of a computer and needed to lie in the dark. Unfortunately, during the time she was supposed to be too sick to use a computer, she was happily updating her Facebook page. After seeing the minute-to-minute updates, her employer decided to give her all the time in the world to update her Facebook page, since she’d no longer need to report to her job (thereby laying her off from the job). Likewise, some people stands the risk of posting issues that might hunt them in the future, that is why Schmidt (Google CEO) remarked that “People will one day change their name and reinvent themselves in order to escape their digital past.”.
A word as they say is enough for the wise!
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