If you have seen an awareness campaign or you’ve picked up a brochure from Eyes Open Social Media Safety you’ll notice that we focus on adding privacy and increasing security to your social media accounts.
In our awareness campaign we make it abundantly clear why this is our focus.
For everyone else… the reason our focus is on adding privacy and increasing security is that through research and case studies of negative outcomes that people have experienced on the internet, we have found that most negative experiences are attributed to the wrong person accessing private or personal information on social media accounts.
Check out the examples below this video about how we assist you to add privacy & security to your social media accounts!
A current form of identity theft happening in Australia is called “sim swapping”.
This is where a person gains access to another person’s phone account by having the victim’s number ported (moved) to a new sim card that the perpetrator has access to.
Once a phone number has been stolen, the perpetrator has the ability to gain access to online accounts of the victim such as social media, email and even bank accounts, by requesting a reset of the password via a link that is sent to the phone number attached to the account.
The perpetrator of these crimes is also able to intercept any two-factor authorisation codes that are sent to the phone number.
HOW THEY GAIN ACCESS
To successfully gain access to a phone number as much information as possible is collected about the victim from social media, phishing scams, public websites and data that has been collected by criminal data collection agencies.
Armed with this information the criminals contact the victim’s phone service provider and claim the sim card is faulty or the phone has been lost and ask the carrier to activate a sim card they have access to.
The carrier will first ask the person to verify their identity by answering security questions, which the perpetrator is able to answer with the information they have gleaned from the web.
Security questions asked for proof of identity can be:
- Your full name;
- Date of birth;
- Mother’s maiden name; or
- First pet etc
This information is often freely available on social media through linked accounts where your middle name may be present in a username, birthday well-wishes or games that you have participated in where your first pet name or street where you have grown up in was mentioned.
Adding privacy & security to social media accounts significantly reduces the chance of being a victim of this type of identity theft, simply by making this information harder to access.
PROTECTING PRIVATE PHOTOS
Most parents have never considered that normal family photos of their child could end up on the dark web.
Something that most average people are unaware of is that to gain access to the dark web predators need to provide an enormous amount of unique content every month that has not been used on the dark web previously.
Therefore, to provide this content they need to gain access to images of children in one of the following ways:
- Create the content themselves
- Convince a child or parent to give them access to or create content for them
- Gain access to normal photos and photoshop them to become content that could be used for their purpose.
Gaining access to “usable” normal photos creates a challenge when easily accessible images have often already been used, therefore they are looking to gain access to images that are hidden behind a layer of privacy settings on family social media accounts.
HOW THEY GAIN ACCESS
We have all heard of the “hoax” where a person posted to say “don’t accept a second friend request from me”.
Whilst the chain letter style private message, or reposting of the notice “not to accept a second friend request” is a hoax, there is in fact many duplicate accounts created on social media for the purpose of gaining access to “friends” of the original account.
To convince privacy & security conscious social media users to add them, a criminal will duplicate a real account using known photos and send out a friend request to all the known friends of the original account.
Once the friend request has been accepted the cyber-criminal can glean private family photos and also may collect information for the purpose of identity theft.
Accounts that are likely to be duplicated are usually social media users who add people they don’t know as “friends” and/or have low privacy and security added to their social media accounts.
Adding privacy & increase security to your social media accounts can your family and friends from having their photos and information accessed.
Being educated about more protective options for posting can also assist with ensuring pictures of your children are protected even if you accept a friend request from the wrong account in the future.
In December 2018 a 13-year-old Australian boy engaged in conversation with a 40 year old man on an app designed for strangers to meet.
The boy engaged in conversation and shared images with the man.
When asked to meet the boy declined and when the man became aggressive the boy deleted the app.
The man tracked the boy using information he gathered from the interactions on the app and social media accounts and assaulted him in the front yard of his home.
Many people believe that there is anonymity afforded on social media and meeting apps.
It is often overlooked that not a lot of information is needed for a person to connect you to your social media accounts. Just knowing your surname, who your friends are or a vague location may be enough for a person you don’t wish to find you to be able to tap into your social media presence.
From your major social media accounts a person may be able to find out a lot more about you.
When the topic of predators is raised in parent circles, there is a few things that parents believe they know:
- That predators want to abduct children;
- That predators scour the web trying to engage children in conversations;
- That teaching a child not to talk to strangers will protect them;
- That a “good child” won’t break the rules online; and
- You’d have to be extremely “unlucky” to become a victim of an online predator
Here’s some additional and/or alternative facts:
- That predators want to abduct children;
Not all predators are looking to abduct a child. Predators may be looking for:
~ photos (private or just normal photos that can be photoshopped)
~ intimate conversations
~ access to other children
A predator gaining these things from your child can still have catastrophic outcomes for your child.
- Awareness and preventative measures need to be taken to address predators that seek children out online. Equally concerning is that there is a rising trend where children create “fake accounts” with the intention of catfishing predators. This means they actively seek out adults who are trying to talk to children and they deliberately engage in private or intimate conversations for a joke or with the intention of “catching” child predators.
- When children are talking to their friends on social media or online video games they will speak about their daily life. Their friends will also refer to them by name, talk about other people they both know and freely refer to known things such as schools, sports clubs and local venues because they are not “considering” what information they are “giving away.” If these conversations can be heard, predators can collect information about the children before using it to convince them to do something they know they shouldn’t.
- Children often don’t mean to “break the rules” but will stretch the rules to achieve an online goal or if they are under pressure. This could be due to someone who has collected information about them and then is using it to exploit.
- Luck has nothing to do with it. Easy access is key. A British study determined that predators take 8 minutes to groom a child.
This means that they are looking for easy targets. Before a predator engages a child, they will usually gather information.
It stands to reason that a child whose accounts lack privacy and security would be more likely to be contacted by online predators. …this is also true for predators looking to exploit adult targets.
Adding privacy & security to social media accounts is your first line of defense against online predators. If there is no information easily accessible they will usually not bother making contact or looking further.
Common forms of cyberbullying are:
- When the “bullying” person knows where the victim can be found and makes threats of harm or stalking;
- When known “friends” are used as a threat of revealing a secret;
- When the bully threatens people the victim cares about if compliance isn’t given by the victim in the way of doing tasks, they are reluctant to do.
We have all had the experience of “knowing” something by reading between the lines or picking up cues from vague posts on social media.
These non-verbal cues can be used by cyberbullies to know when they will get the most reaction from their victim.
All of this information and more, can be found on social media accounts that lack privacy & security.
Who do we work with? Check out the video below that is relevant to you!!