Social networks. It is rare nowadays someone who does not have an account in at least one network or app – from classics like Facebook and Twitter to those that have been gaining space more recently, like TikTok, or even more specific, like Tinder. The world is connected, and apps and social media are a huge part of that. Unfortunately, however, not everything is flowers in this universe.
The great documentary “Dilemma of the Networks” (on Netflix, I recommend watching) brings a look at the addictive and commercial aspect of these platforms – something that should be considered in everyday life, without a doubt.
But there is one more aspect to this theme, which the film can teach us: personal exposure and the actions of criminals and malicious individuals. In the search for greater popularity (be it likes, followers, shares or any other measure of interaction and engagement), users are encouraged – often indirectly – to expose more and more personal details in a public way about their lives.
Among the millions of users, there are a lot of bad people who actively seek victims
And what’s the problem with that? After all, isn’t that what a lot of people are there for? The point is, it’s not just family and friends who are there. Among the millions of users, there are many bad-intentioned people who actively seek victims, people who leave details of routine, personal preferences and relationships.
Information that can be – and often is – used in criminal actions. With personal data, criminals can carry out phishing and social engineering actions, posing as legitimate organizations and individuals; thus, they send emails with various malware, requests to send personal data and even donations, all with the appearance of reliable content, which increases their efficiency.
As our country is one of the most active in the networks, it is not surprising that Brazil appears among the countries that suffer most from attacks and scams by e-mail, for example. The huge number of users, together with the lack of specific safety precautions when using social apps, creates a huge market for the digital media underworld. The solution, fortunately, is simple, and can be adopted by any home user.
What can you do?
First and foremost: have common sense, care and attention. All networks and apps have data privacy settings, and they should be your first priority. Observe exactly who has access to your data, and ensure that only people whose accounts you have checked and are sure are legitimate, can access your personal posts.
When adding people with little contact (colleagues, casual suppliers, acquaintances, etc.), be careful not to leave the same degree of exposure of people close to you that you want to have access to your privacy. When receiving suspicious contacts by WhatsApp, email or any other means, be suspicious and, when in doubt, do not accept. Try to confirm the sender’s real identity before taking any action.
Finally, keep your security software up to date on your computer and mobile phone. Digital criminals will seek out all kinds of vulnerability from their targets, and unprotected devices are an important gateway for them, so make sure all your devices are up to date and protected. With awareness and care, and using the right tools, you and your family will be able to enjoy the best of networks, without becoming victims of cybercriminals.