Social Data

I am sitting in a coffee shop. As usual, I take a headcount and check for anything odd or out of place. Then it occurs to me. There are 11 customers including me. Eight of the eleven are all on some type of electronic device. Two are having a quiet conversation. One is doing sudoku or a crossword puzzle. Two more just sat down, a man and a woman. He immediately pulls out his phone and starts typing, she begins talking. From his expression, her talking is simply background noise.

This is a part of the world economy we now live in. Nobody talks much anymore. They blog, tweet, and post their day away. Yes I said world economy. After all, this is all data we are talking about here. And data has value. Ask any cyber security professional. Personal data, company data, government data. It is all simply data. The value set upon it is relative and viewed from a certain perspective.

Today, let’s talk about personal data. Like many people, perhaps you have a Facebook account. Maybe you tweet stuff. Personally, I use none of it. Over time, you may see why I do not. So you decide to take a vacation. Perhaps a long weekend away somewhere nice. You tweet, you post pics, and you get likes and replies that make you smile. You even throw in a few selfies. Nice. More likes and comments. You have posted pics of the drive, the trees, that funny thing you saw on a sign. You tweet something about #vaca! which gets a following from your circles. That circle extends out across many other circles and even further out from those circles. People you do not even know are now viewing your vacation. They wonder who you are. Later you will wonder who they are. You see, one or more of them are watching you. They see you have posted you will be away for a long weekend. You have let them know nobody is at home. You have stated that your home is a target. And they love easy targets.

I do not say these things to scare you. Quite on the other hand, I mean to educate you. Know what and where you are posting. Know who will see it. Know if you can trust them. Because if you do not, they will surely know you.



Well, this one seems to be hitting a lot of computers. Search the internet and you will find many stories on this topic. Please be sure you read them and understand their intent. Understand their point of view. And most importantly, look for an agenda. Fake news, bad news, scare tactics all play a part in today’s media. This is unfortunate, but you have the ability to weed through the garbage and make your own decisions. Do not let them scare you or cause fear of any kind. Following the basic rules of computing will usually keep your systems safe.


Do Not Click Links – Mouse over them and check the status bar (lower left corner in Chrome for example). This will show you the link without clicking it. A link description can be any text they want it to be. They are banking that you click it. Period.

Attachments – Check these every time. Run your virus scans, malware scans, allow your system to check them as well. A few simple items will keep you safe from this stuff.

Getting emails that offer the too good to be true stuff? Right click and add to Spam. If it turns out later you want to see them, you can always remove them from Spam.

Normal Email – Is it really normal? Again as above, mouse over links that tell you to click here to fix your bank account, your credit card, even stuff from friends and family. They mean well, but that link most likely came from somewhere else.