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The scary world of Social Media and geo tagging

As the saying goes, “it is never too late”, and it is only recently that I created a twitter account.
I was convinced to do so after attending a SANS training course (more on that soon) where the instructor told us twitter was the best way to keep up to date and in touch with a great online security community.

I am not new to social media, but after “playing” with twitter for a few days I am both impressed and concerned!

Impressed because it is slick and indeed a great way to follow up some topics and keep in touch.
Concerned because it is a mine gold for wanna be thief!

It has been well publicized that people share far too much information on Facebook, information that can sometimes be used against them (by employers, people who dislike you, ex lovers, etc).
I feel however the micro blogging format of twitter invites more its users at describing and sharing mundane information such as what you eat, what you think, what you do… and where you are!

It is actually a new trend on facebook and twitter… to geotag your status updates.
This, combined with the type of information and vastly public status updates, are what worries me.
Especially since it is easier than ever to geotag whatever you do with the new smartphones available such as iphones/androids.

To illustrate this, when trying one of the many twitter clients I found a “search twits near you” button.
This enables you to see all the public twits near you (or anywhere in the world in fact).
And sure enough, I could see many neighbors describing how they were going to see a football game in a few days, going to the movies, being in a coffee shop.

This type of information is scary! one could easily use it to find out when someone is home or not!
Scanning for twit near you in the evening in a residential area could quickly give you the twit names of who live in the area, just follow their twits the next day and find out when no-one is home or on holiday!

I was really surprised at the number of public twits around, in fact people think they are safe because they do not display their real names, but allowing geotagging gives much more dangerous personal information.

I don’t know the real name of that nearby neighbor, but I know where he lives, what he does, how he looks like and where he will be this Saturday…

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