More than ever we trust technology to care for the details of our lives. We post vacation photos from the beach, announce life events from the delivery room, and bank from the palms of our hands. Overall it’s fun and convenient to have your life within a click’s reach—except when the information falls into the wrong hands.
Because technology will only become more a part of daily life as time moves on, it becomes increasingly important that we ask, Is this TMI? before entering personal information online. It’s time to get smart about how much information we share via social networks, email, apps, and smartphones.
How serious is the risk of TMI? Take a look at some of these numbers:
- Consumer Reports found that 52% of social network users have posted personal information online that can increase their risk of becoming victim of a cybercrime. The posts included full names, addresses, birthdays, schools attended, names of children and spouses, as well as details of vacation plans.
- Interviewing recently jailed burglars, a UK home security company reports that an alarming 78% use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare to plan burglaries around their victims’ posted vacation times.
- A 2013 McAfee study found one in six downloaded apps to be infected with malware or linked to malware-infected URLs. Often these apps skim personal data that passes through your smartphone, such as passwords, credit card numbers, photos, and anything linked to financial accounts.3
- One in three social media–savvy employers rejected applicants based on Facebook posts, according to a survey of 2,300 hiring managers released by CareerBuilder.com. The offending content included inappropriate photos and comments, drinking or using drugs, poor communication skills, and bad-mouthing a previous employer. There is another side to the coin, though: 30% hired candidates based on what they saw.
Here are five things you can do to stop online TMI:
- Never post your address, phone number, Social Security number, or other personal information online.
- Manage your privacy settings. At most, only friends should be able to see details of your profile.
- Never shop, bank, or enter passwords or credit card numbers over public Wi-Fi.
- Ask questions. Sometimes we do need to share personal information. Ask why they need it, and beware of imposters.
- Share this message with your family and friends. We could all use a TMI refresher.
In an age when smartphones double as shopping carts, photo albums, and even personal assistants, knowing with whom you share personal information matters more than ever. You can get more tips to prevent online TMI and try your hand at winning anIntel® Ultrabook™ and McAfee® LiveSafe™ security software at Intel’s TMI webpage. Also check out some of the vidoes and infographics on TMI tips. Some examples are included below: