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Did her mom set the privacy settings on the album for “Friends Only”? Can “Friends of Friends” also see the album? Or worse yet, are the pics “Public”?
Trend Micro's insight:
My best friend recently posted photos of her daughter “Angela” on Facebook. Angela is adorable; she’s 6 going on 16. It’s been a pleasure having the privilege of watching her grow up through Facebook, as Angela lives halfway around the world from me.
Something disturbed me about the pics though. I know Angela was just being silly as she struck a faux “sexy” pose for the camera in a few shots, showing off her new tank top with a lacy back. She’s just an innocent 6-year-old. And I know her mom thought sharing the pics would give us a chuckle and some insight into her silly 6-year-old. But it got me thinking: besides her mom’s best friends and myself, how many people can see these photos?
How many creepy sexual predators are also looking at Angela?
Did her mom set the privacy settings on the album for “Friends Only”? Can “Friends of Friends” also see the album? Or worse yet, are the pics “Public”? If it’s the latter, how many creepy sexual predators are also looking at innocent little Angela but thinking very differently about the pics than I am?
This situation is problematic, because if those pics of Angela are publicly available, all a sexual predator has to do is check out my friend’s Facebook profile to see where Angela and her mom live, hang out or “check in” to catch a glimpse of little Angela in the flesh. That’s too close for comfort for me.
A third of Facebook users don’t use any privacy settings
If you’re reading this security blog, you are hopefully among those who use privacy settings on their Facebook profile. But about 1/3 of Facebook users actually don’t use the privacy settings, and half of users have no idea those privacy settings even exist. Recent site changes can mean that you have to update your Facebook know-how. Keeping up with privacy settings doesn’t have to be difficult.
Facebook is a great and powerful tool for us to keep up with friends and family both near and far. Unlike a car where you need training and a license to operate a powerful motorized vehicle safely, operating Facebook requires no license and no training, making it easy to surf, post and play recklessly within the social media site, potentially putting the safety and identity of yourself and your family at risk.
Making Facebook privacy settings easy
Have no fear, help is here. Trend Micro makes navigating Facebook privacy settings easy. With a click of the button, you can identify any potential privacy concerns on your profile with the new Facebook privacy scanner in Trend Micro Titanium Security 2013. To make it even easier, if you “Like” Trend Micro on Facebook, you can get a six month free subscription today, giving you the opportunity to get your Facebook privacy settings right where you want them.
Oh, and after speaking with Angela’s mom about my concerns, she’s going to be our first customer. ;-)
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.
If you are a parent of a teen, you have probably become fairly used to seeing the top of their head, as they are looking down at their smart phones 80% of the time. After all, don’t you understand how important it is that they check Instagram every 5 minutes and Snapchat their friends?
With the rise of mobile devices in more and younger hands, mobile security is more important than ever. While your teen might think you’re “so lame” for being concerned, it’s important that you have a conversation with them about mobile security.
Here are a few things you should go over with your teen to protect them on their mobile device:
1. Check the geo-location feature on their apps. Have them turn off the geo-location feature for the mobile apps that don’t need to know where they are physically located. Some apps need it to work, such as Google Maps and Find my IPhone, an app. to find the location of your phone from another IOS device in case you lose your phone. However, most don’t (such as Angry Birds). Also consider turning it off for the phone’s camera so that the photos they share are not tagged with their location.
2. Encourage smart socializing. Just like the Internet, once you put something out there, it’s out there forever. Explain to them to use the same good sense about what they post from their phone as from a computer. Once something is put on Instagram, sent through a text message, etc., they can’t take it back- even more so if nudity or sex is involved. Talk to them about the dangers of sexting and sending personal pictures or videos. Also, because people socialize on cellphones as much as online, cyber bullying can be mobile too.
3. Use security software on any device where your kids are accessing the Internet. While companies are collecting information to sell you something, there are people who might try to steal your children’s information for other purposes. Security software is extremely important for mobile devices.Titanium Maximum Security: All-In-One Protection (http://www.trendmicro.com/us/home/products/titanium/max-security/index.html) indicates dangerous links on social media sites, identifies settings that may leave personal information vulnerable, and protects confidential data such as credit card numbers, passwords, addresses, etc.
4. Update the operating system. Most smartphones alert the user to tell them about available updates for their apps and operating system. These alerts are easy to ignore, however it’s important to update these as soon as possible. Updating the phone’s apps and operating system closes security loopholes and other backdoors that hackers can use to access your phone without your knowledge.
5. Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi. Many restaurants and stores offer public Wi-Fi. Make sure your teen knows that when they are connected to an unsecured or public Wi-Fi network, they should not enter any passwords or access any personal data. Since this Wi-Fi is public and/or unsecured, hackers can use such networks as an easy means to hack your device.
6. Enforce a Strong Password. If your teen’s phone is lost or stolen, their personal information is at risk. Suggest adding a security code to their phone to protect their information, and “1, 2, 3, 4” doesn’t cut it. Make sure your teen is using a strong passcode to lock their phone.
These are easy ways to protect your mobile devices and keep your teens safe. It is worth the time to educate yourself and your family, and implement these safe guards.
Written by: Shannon McCarty-Caplan, Consumer Security Advocate at Trend Micro. Shannon has over a dozen years of experience helping consumers and businesses find the security solutions they need to protect their families, privacy and critical data. Shannon is a news junkie with a BA in Journalism from the University of Arizona. On most days, you can find Shannon tweeting or blogging about security issues impacting women and families or geeking out on the latest new tech toys. Shannon resides on the North Coast (Chicago) and spends her free time volunteering for two non-profit organizations, studying foreign languages and traveling with her husband.
A new federal law goes into effect on Monday that severely restricts how apps and websites can collect data about people under 13. The rules could be trouble for free apps that rely on advertising to earn money.
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