You probably heard about Facebook allowing third parties to violate users’ privacy and to use their information for different purposes. Cambridge Analytica
gained access to more than 50 million Facebook users' data. The data was collected, shared, and stored without any user consent at all.
It was a starting point for internet users to check what kind of data they are sharing on social networks, a moment when many people expressed their opinions on social networks privacy. A huge range of feelings, attitudes and views were uttered, from: “OMG! So much private information out there
” to “There is nothing interesting in my shared data, everyone can have access to it, I don’t care
Hello! My name is Sabina (portrait made by my son, 4y.o.)
and I am BullGuard’s Social Media Manager. I’m also an IT Security Researcher and I’ll show you that there is always interesting information in what social networks store about you.
So you should care about your private data because, when it comes to sensitive information, the bad guys don’t have a “I’m bored” sentence in their dictionary.
At the end of March, when Facebook’s practices were the main topic for thousands of websites and journals, we published on our blog an article with some practical advices: How to take control of your Facebook Privacy Settings
The article started to generate lots of comments. One of them summarizes a perception of many users: “You want to spy on my PC or have my Facebook data ... go ahead you'll be bored in about 3 minutes flat...
Now let me show you a part of your “boring data” interpreted. Take your time to read and to think about the power of integrated information.
I know all the daily steps you’re doing
Every time you open Facebook, your IP address, the time, the browser and the device you’re using is recorded. If you are checking your Facebook on a daily basis – and I suppose you do this, right? - it’s enough for me to establish your patterns of behaviour: I could tell you where is your house, your job location, what is your daily routine - when you wake up and when you go to bed, your day-to-day commute.
It’s like being your shadow: you step, I step behind you.
Did you know that your friends are my friends, too? Even if they (or you) don’t want this…
Do you check what your friends are posting from your mobile device? Well, this is great. But did you know that when you installed the Facebook app on your mobile phone, you gave it the right to access your contact list?
Facebook keeps all your contact information forever –we are talking about names, emails and phones.
Think just for one moment: maybe some of your friends don’t want to give Facebook (or any other person that could access the information) this kind of detail. Maybe they don’t want to hear about Facebook. But their information is there.
I know everything you like, everything you hate, and everything you are interested in…
Practically, I can say I know you as you know yourself (…or better!). Every reaction you had, every like you gave to a post or to a page, every discussion on a different topic that you found exciting, it’s all logged.
t’s not hard to create, based on this information, patterns for your beliefs and interests. Why is this important for the “bad guys”? Well… knowing you as well as they know their own pockets they can launch targeted attacks – which will be successful for sure.
This is just a part of the data collated by Facebook. But there is a lot more information stored out there and I already know you so well…
So don’t give up on your privacy. All these details matters and, even you don’t realize for the moment, the sensitive information in a hacker’s hands could lead to disastrous results for you.
Some years ago I downloaded my data from Facebook. I did it again today, to capture some photos for this article. It’s a good exercise for you, too: you will observe years of reliable human behavior that has been accurately gathered and stored virtually. It makes you think.