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What risk does your online profile pose to you and your family?

May 21, 2019

by Ghonche Alavi​, CDFE

Information Security Consultant, NYA, a GardaWorld company

 

As interconnectivity across the globe increases, so do the number of people sharing personal information in real time. While this has clear benefits in bringing people together, it also constitutes a growing security threat where trivial social media posts reveal more and more information about you and your loved ones.

 

Rising threats from the digital domain

When it comes to protecting your family, it’s no longer enough to rely solely on having the highest fence around your house or the loudest alarm with the fastest incident response to manage security threats. The reason: a significant portion of threats have swiftly shifted to the digital domain and become more nuanced and complex than ever. This type of danger is also heightened by the increasing social and professional pressures of maintaining an online presence.

Are Online profiles a threat?

The potential dangers of sharing information online

While it may not be clear to family members, particularly younger ones, why so much caution should be applied when sharing information online, there are some real threats that could leave some—or even all—family members exposed.  Although less sophisticated criminals may only engage in just a casual perusal online to acquire valuable information to be leveraged, a more sophisticated black-hat hacker is highly likely to be able to quickly identify potentially less discreet family members, close ones, and as such, potentially harmful information.

 

What types of information can be dangerous when shared?

Harmful information can include which schools your children attend, where your spouse goes for a morning jog, how frequently you travel abroad, and whether you own homes in multiple locations.

As snippets of information come together, criminals can quickly create tangible intel to act on. This can then be used to plan for a wide range of crimes, from virtual kidnapping and doxing to burglary and mugging. Also, children can become victims of cyber harassment and groomed to reveal even more sensitive information, which can later be used against the family.

All these crimes are financially motivated but can have far-reaching consequences, including posing a real physical threat and significant reputational damage.

online profile vulnerability assessment

How GardaWorld can help

Creating a simple online profile with information about yourself or your family can map out where your vulnerabilities lie. At GardaWorld, we provide threat and vulnerability assessments for individuals and families. Our assessments evaluate your risk profile and “pattern of life,” identifying any vulnerabilities in your security and recommending effective countermeasures for the better protection of both you and your dependents, as well as giving consideration to any wider business interests that may affect you.

This service and team continuously monitor traditional media, social media, as well as deep and dark web sources for mentions of our clients and/or stolen data. After notifying you within minutes of a discovery (or in accordance with pre-agreed protocols), we can work with you on how to respond effectively and to better protect yourself and your family moving forward.

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