Human beings are inherently social creatures and whether it be virtually or physically we all desire to be connected in some way. Social media’s such as Facebook or Instagram can be amazing platforms to share our lives with our friends and family, but how much sharing is too much? When you geotag your photos you may be sharing more than intended to people you may not trust…
What is Geotagging?
Geotagging is the process of adding geographical information or data to a social media post. Most of the biggest social media platforms utilize this feature by using your phones location services to track your current location so that users can add it to a post.
Through geotagging users can see exactly where you are in the photo down to the exact longitude and latitude coordinates. For example when you make a social media post on Instagram it will give you the option to “add a location” so that when posted your followers can see where you were at the time of the photo by looking right under your username. While at first glance this may seem like a convenient way to share your recent vacation photos or a nice restaurant you just visited it can also be a very exploitable feature by cyber criminals.
How Much Are You Really Sharing?
For starters when you create posts like this you are sharing your exact location with anyone who views your posts. This can be especially dangerous when you have complete strangers following you. Even if you’re only posting public spots you can quickly and unknowingly establish patterns in your locations that cybercriminals can either use in creating personalized phishing scams or find out more about your personal life in general.
Additionally, using such services can also come with physical threats as well as cyber threats. Releasing your location to the public may let criminals know not only where you reside, but what your daily schedule looks like or what your upcoming vacation plans may be. Through this criminals not only know where you’re going but when you won’t be home as well. As a general rule it isn’t smart to reveal so much about your whereabouts to any public platform. Just because geocoding is convenient doesn’t mean its the safest.
Controlling What I Share
The good news is that controlling what you share can be done in simple and practical steps. The first is to not let these apps know your location. This is as easy as going into you location settings and denying access to apps that may be utilizing geotagging features. This is the most full proof way ensure you’re not revealing more information than intended.
A second way is to make sure your social media accounts are private. A good way to ensure you aren’t entertaining cybercriminals is to be in control of who follows you and can see your posts by setting you personal social media accounts to private.
Keeping your information private and secure is easier than you think. By taking practical steps you can ensure your data is your and yours alone!
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