InfoSec Blog - Are you Oversharing?

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July 10,2018

Since the advent of social media, the world has never been a more connected place. Now you can stay in touch with friends from across the world and feel like they live minutes away. At any time, you can see what your family and loved ones are doing or where they are.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. When it comes to social media you are the one in control of what you post, and how private your account is. There is always the risk of companies misusing your information as we have seen in recent news items but you can also be your biggest enemy when it comes to oversharing on social media.

What is Oversharing?

According to Google the term overshare can be defined as “To reveal an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life.” As with many things we encounter today the idea of oversharing on social media or in general is a very grey area. No one can really determine when exactly sharing becomes oversharing since all people are different. We can, as individuals, provide our own spectrum of sharing and where we think the line is for oversharing. There are however certain areas where you should be more careful and that is what we will discuss here.

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 Dangers of Oversharing

Often on social media we are presented with the option of keeping our account completely private or varying degrees of privacy according to who we want to see our posts. Many times, these options can be overlooked, with the default often being completely public. This is worrisome because now you are not only sharing your most intimate moments with close family and friends, but also to people you may not even know.

This opens you up to many different dangers. You can become the target of social engineering attacks, as people can create an entire profile about you with only what you share on social media. Checking in at every stop or constant sharing of your location can let potential attackers know where you are or that you are not home, opening your home (or yourself) to potential robbery.

The two examples above, although extreme, can and do happen regularly. Some more common examples are posting inappropriate or incriminating content that can, not only be embarrassing, but detrimental to future career or friendship opportunities.

Despite the dangers involved with oversharing about your personal life on social media there are some steps you can take to mitigate this risk.

What Steps Can I Take?

1. Choose the content you share wisely: Imagine that you are saying your post to someone next to you instead of the void of the internet and decide whether it’s something you should really say. To avoid embarrassment or sharing inappropriate information try and stay positive with your content.

2. Protect yourself from attacks: Don’t share information that could potentially be used to reset your passwords (first pet’s name, mother’s maiden name), Keep your profile set to private and be aware of your social networks location services and turn them off if necessary, while trying to only post about your trips, after you are back.

3. Don’t incriminate yourself: Try to think about “What if”, what if a future employer or potential mate sees this, or would this information get me in trouble.

4. Disconnect: This final step may seem obvious but try and reduce your social media use and try to interact with people in person more often, or pick up a new hobby to reduce the amount of time you spend on social media in general.


With this list in mind you can help yourself stay safe and closely consider what information you share on your social media accounts.




Written by: Joao Bernardo (Coop Student, CCS Information Security)