Sharing Personal Info Online Lets Hackers Find You

Aug 17, 2012

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Two weeks ago, someone managed to hack into Mat Honan's Apple account and erased all of his data, including a year and a half's worth of pictures. They also took over his email and Twitter accounts.

The reason? The hacker wanted Mat's Twitter handle: @mat.

Mat Honan had never met this person, but it didn't matter. The hacker managed to gather enough personal info about Honan online, including his home address and email address, and then successfully convinced Amazon tech support and Apple customer support to gain more confidential information.

This unfortunate incident could have been avoided. Hackers only need a few pieces of personal information to feed to customer support in order to gain access to online accounts.

It is especially important to impress upon kids the need to keep personal information private. Kids are very likely to share personal info online without considering the consequences. Popular sites like Facebook have places in user profiles for things such as hometown, current city, address, email address, birthday, workplace… and the list goes on.

Someone who fills out all of this information on Facebook is very vulnerable to hackers. It is important that teens know that providing this info is optional when signing up for Facebook, and that they shouldn't share it anywhere online.

Monitoring your child's online lifestyle is important and ensuring they know the ground rules about sharing personal information can save heartache, stress, and even your identity.

I work for ContentWatch and all opinions expressed here are my own.