Today we have a tutorial on how to make it easier to become a victim of a cyber stalker on any of your favorite social media sites. To simplify things, I have included step by step directions, please follow along.
STEP 1: Take a picture using any smart phone – iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc. This can be a picture of your dog, cat, wife, kids, computer, house, favorite pet, annoying neighbor, or a combination of any two.
STEP 2: Upload the picture to your social media site.
That’s it, thanks for joining us. Today’s broadcast was brought to you by… What? You want to know more? How does just taking a picture and uploading it to a social media site give away any personal data?
Okay, I will tell you, here is the problem. Most new “smart phones” come with geo tracking enabled by default. So, when you take a picture, your location, in longitude and latitude is automatically added to the metadata of the picture. Metadata is just additional information that is tagged onto the picture and can be viewed. Kind of like the picture “properties”.
When the picture is uploaded, the metadata goes right along with it. So basically, every picture taken with a smart phone gives away the location where it was shot and it can be viewed by anyone on the web.
Now, what if someone were to make a program to sweep the social media sites just looking for pictures that contain geo location data? Then, what if, hypothetically speaking, they take your name, the picture and your profile picture and post it? Now, since we started down this bunny trail, what if they also were nice enough to also include a Google Map showing exactly where the picture was taken?
No one would be that sinister you say? Oh contraire, let me introduce you to I Can Stalk You. The website was created by security specialists to raise the awareness of inadvertant information sharing. Though I am not 100% sure that they are truly revealing the actual location data, it is still kind of creepy.
How can you stop giving away your location with each photograph? The “I Can Stalk You” site contains instructions on how to turn off the Geo Tagging on the most popular phones.
It is amazing how much personal information we give away online, and sometimes we don’t even know it.