It seems that every month we are tweeting, blogging or writing in our newsletter something about the amazing world of social media. Something just came across our desks that will really blow your mind. All about how smart phones are a cyber stalking dream tool.
What if I told you that there was a way to create a profile on you that could reveal
• Where you live
• Who else lives there
• Your commuting patterns
• Where you go for lunch each day
• Who you go to lunch with
And all I need you to do is use a social media site or two and post a picture or two here or there?
Most phones when used for taking pictures will embed certain data in the meta-tag. Meta data is often used by software to help process the picture and open it correctly. Yet there is so much space this is also often used to store the photographer’s name, date and other juicy bits of info about the picture.
One of the juiciest bits is geo-location. Yes the age of the smart phone has opened up this flaw and allows a person to see the exact location of an individual when that picture was taking. Smart phones actual embed the longitude and latitude of the location in the meta data of the picture.
Then when the user (you) posts it to twitter, facebook, and the world begins to awe at your photographic prowess malicious social engineers are finding out the location seeing if you are near home, near a good spot to be abducted, profiling you for id theft or home invasion… pick your poison and although I sound sarcastic, this is very serious.
This is a stalkers dream, enter the age of digital stalking. And a brand new website http://icanstalku.com/
The folks at http://icanstalku.com/ scrap the Twitter feeds for people posting pictures, locate if it has metadata, scrap out the location and data and post it there for all to see. YIKES.
What Can You Do?
Well for one, stop sharing photos of your kids, your wife, yourself, your sandwiches, your clothing, your car, your new tattoo, your whatever with the whole universe. Stop showing the world every time something funny, dumb or weird happens.
But if you are one of those people that must do this, then disable geolocation information in your smart phone. For example in your iPhones it is under Settings > General > Location Services from there you can tell it what apps can access location data.
In your BlackBerry – Go into picture-taking mode (via HomeScreen, click icon “Camera”), press the Menu button and choose “Options”. Set the “Geotagging” setting to be “Disabled”. Finally, save the updated settings.
In Android go to the camera > Settings > GPS and make sure the check box is off.
That’s all you need to do, stop showing everyone where you are in the world. This is not a light matter, when a criminal knows where you are they can more easily plan an attack. Security Through Education. Understand how the bad guys think and what methods they use and you can combat against it.
Till next time, stay safe.