Cybersecurity analyst, Philemon Hini, says parents who post images and videos of children on social media risk exposing them to criminals in the cyberspace.
By monitoring your posts, cyber criminals are able to determine who you are, places you have been, where you live and even track your circle of friends, making you an easy target for kidnappers, Hini stated.
“We have had cases where cybercriminals attack people because they post too much information about their vacations and family life on social media. So you tell the whole world that you’re going to Kumasi for a vacation and this time around you are leaving the kids behind, what you are indirectly telling a cybercriminal is that your kids are home alone and security is quite porous, therefore, they can strike,” he said.
It is common to see parents posting pictures of their children on social media sites such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Twitter without considering the harm they may be exposing the children
to. According to the analyst, it gets worse when a child has a social media account because, “cybercriminals can pose as teenagers, chat up your children, build trust and then lure them into sending nude pictures of themselves.”
‘The adult posing as a teen, chats with the victim for about two or three months, when trust is built, they move to more personal platforms like Telegram and WhatsApp, there the adult initiates sharing of nudes pictures to entice the teen and then demands the teen so same,” he explained.
Hini also cautioned adults against indulging in practices that make them easy targets for criminals in job or romance scams.
“Sometimes I go through peoples WhatsApp status and trust me in a week, you can gather a lot of information about their moods and even daily activities. With that information, a cybercriminal can build a profile of you enough to impersonate you.”
Make your profile private Philemon Hini recommends to parents who are on Facebook, for instance, to “go to the privacy settings and change the setting from public to friends only. They can go a step further by categorising their friends and those who get to see their posts.
“On Whatsapp go to settings, click account, open your privacy, click on status, and there you can control the number of people who view your status.
“When you post pictures on any social media platform cybercriminals can trace your location; so go to your phones privacy settings and make sure your location is turned off.
“In an era where everyone feels the need to update their WhatsApp status, change their Facebook profile picture and tweet their concerns, you must ensure you’re protecting yourself,” he advised.