I’ve been concerned about this issue for some time now. As a resident of California, I’m entitled under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to ask about the data that companies have mined from me. Recently, I did just that. Even though I closely follow cyber risk and privacy topics for a living, I was stunned by what I received in return. Both the sheer volume (we’re talking dozens of pages of spreadsheets) and the depth of the data points (e.g., the current phone numbers of friends I have not called since high school) rudely reawakened me to the reality of how our personal data has been commodified, sold, and traded without our full knowledge.
Yet, perhaps out of denial (“it won’t happen to me”) or cynicism (“they already have all my data”), too few of us take the steps needed to protect ourselves. It’s never too late to mitigate risk and doing something is better than oversharing your personal information with strangers and big data companies. Here are some easy ways to reduce your vulnerability across social media platforms:
The risks of social media use are real and frightening: Identity theft, phishing, and now deepfakes can be perpetrated with the information we’ve willingly exposed about ourselves. From just a few small clues, a threat actor can target you or your business, open a credit card in the name of your child, or commit wire fraud.