Another massive leak of data on social network users came to light when Social Data published on a publicly available site a database with information on a quarter-billion accounts from the popular social networks Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. The database contained publicly available data, such as data on employment, family relationships, nationality, or private photos. “This is collecting publicly available data that users have entered into their profiles on social networks, while neglecting to set privacy,” says Tomáš Bartek, IT expert at Aliter Technologies.
According to the expert, the public is still insufficiently informed about the principles of safe behavior on the Internet, the publication of such a massive database is considered a security issue. “Freely available data about people is not only used by companies for their marketing activities, they can also be misused by hackers in targeted attacks on specific people. For example, attackers use social engineering and phishing to obtain data for a bank account, but also to obtain sensitive information from companies,” adds Tomáš Bartek. If an attacker has enough information about your person, they can produce a fake email that looks like your bank or employer, and thus attack a specific person. Disinformation campaigns to influence public opinion are also getting stronger.
According to the expert, people should pay attention to the setting of privacy and adhere to the principles of safe behavior on the Internet. “Users should carefully review their privacy settings across all online services and keep their data private to a minimum. If the social network allows it, you need to choose in the settings so that the user account is not accessible for web search engines,” added an IT expert from Aliter Technologies.
You can check what information is publicly available about you by viewing your account without signing in, using incognito mode in your browser. In the case of the social network Facebook, you can view your profile directly in the settings as a person you do not have in your friends and in this way also verify what is displayed to strangers about you.
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