Do you think twice before posting personal info, photos online?

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  1. For a few bucks you can download programs that can access everything you have in your "private" accounts. There are also companies that do this regularly to compile data about users and sell it.
  2. I have a MySpace (which I should just delete, I never use it) and a Facebook. Both are private. I don't post anything I would be embarrassed for my relatives or boss to see.

    On public forums such as this, I won't post any personal info or pics of my face or family/friends.

    I never really thought about friends posting pictures of me sisters both have MySpace and post lots of pictures of us on there. They're both private, and I'm not doing anything I'm not too worried about it.
  3. Not to sound like an ass, but do you have proof of these companies? Not that they exist, rather that you've seen someone's private Facebook info published on those sites.
    Did anyone pay the 2 bucks for Spock to see what kind of info was displayed??
  4. I know someone, a techie, who's familiar with those programs and knows a lot about what the companies do. I'm no techie or expert, but I've read about it--there are tons of articles about this topic (just google it). I've always been very careful with what I post because that's just me, and this is before I read and heard about the non-private nature of what's posted online. Anyway, so I'm wondering what others think about it.

    Here's one of the many articles out there:

    Facebook Private Profiles Not As Private As You Think They Are -- UPDATED With Facebook Changes

    Facebook users who set their profiles to private aren't quite as hidden as they might think they are, according to security researcher Christopher Soghoian, who discovered that Facebook's advanced search features reveals people's names, pictures, religion and sexual orientation to people who don't have permission to see their profile. Like many social networks, Facebook allows its users to mark their profile page as private, semi-private or very open. However, even if you mark your profile to only be visible by friends, that doesn't change how you turn up in Facebook searches or whether your profile is open to indexing by search engines (UPDATE: Facebook clarifies only names and some non-revealing info, not profile content, is opened to search engine spiders. TL regrets not making clear that the friends only setting doesn't change whether search engines can find out you have a profile).
    UPDATE: Weds. 6 p.m. PST: Facebook has changed this feature. See bottom of post and this new post. /UPDATE
    So for instance, if you are a Facebook member of your college or local area, you could run a search to see all the people who are Christian women who are lesbians, all the women interested in women or all the Muslim men into other men. Your search results will likely include people who thought they marked their information as private, but didn't also change their search settings.
    It's not as if Facebook doesn't give you the right to limit who can see your page, but common sense dictates that the vast majority of people who mark their pages as private don't want their information showing up in a public search. Some might, but here Facebook could automatically remove "friends-only" users from search results, and let those who don't mind be found via searches yet want a private profile choose that option.
    The long-and-short? If you are a Facebook user but want it just to be a place for you and your friends to talk, get thee to to the search settings page today and turn that dial down. Otherwise, lesbian Jewish high school sophomores who have "private profiles" will have their names and pictures displayed to any schmoo who signs up for a Facebook account and stumbles across the advanced search page.
    More technical details on Soghoian's blog, where he also wonders if this 'feature' violates European data protection rules.
    UPDATE: Threat Level just noticed that the advanced search lets one search for women who like men and who are looking for "random play." Two of the private profiles displayed included the names and photos of a high school junior and a ninth grader.
    UPDATE 2: Facebook responded to THREAT LEVEL's inquiry and has changed the privacy settings:
    Facebook offers sophisticated search and privacy controls and is constantly making improvements based on feedback from our users. We have since updated the advanced search function so that profile information that has been made private by a user, such as gender, religion, and sexual orientation, will not return a result.
  5. Hmmm I have both a ms and fb accounts. I have all kinds of pics. I never thought about not having pics to share. Who is interested in a old hag like me? Maybe there is a greater risk for younger folks?? I don't post my address or SSN or bank account numbers... What kind of info is too much info that would put your idenity at risk?
  6. DH and I did pay the $2 to look into it.

    I got
    • a list of every address I've lived at.
    • a list of every email I've ever had.
    • a list of every social network I am on
    • Our buisness address, website, and phone.
    • 2 non profile photos of me from my myspace page (which was set to private)
    So, I tried investigating myself. I found my photo, name, and network from a group I joined on facebook. This is the info that shows up on search pages (before you befriend someone).

    I went to and found out that since I am now in **** that that is my current address, phone number, and email. I did a google earth search and there is my house with my car in the driveway. With the streetview function I can read my liscence plate. I also google earth our business, and there is our office with both my car and DH's car in the driveway. So, now from 3 things on facebook I was able to determine not only my online contact info but where I live and work. Its like serving it up for sexual preditors on a silver platter. All of that was done in under 5 minutes.

    As for the private profile viewing software, of the two I listed in my post before one of them has a 15 day free trial. I did not download it because the publisher is unknown but if you PM me I can refer you. I just don't want to post it for obvious reasons.
  7. I always love your posts! lmao
  8. Both my myspace & fb accounts are private. I know there are many ways to search for info if you know where to go and want to pay. So what can you do, you know??
  9. #69 Feb 5, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
    I guess my problem is that I don't mind if Grandma has my address to my home or work or knows which neighborhood I live in if she wants to drop by with cookies or if my boss has my home address so he can send me my paycheck.

    However, I do mind if any of the 20 sex offenders that are in my neighborhood of **** find me on the facebook group "******* is better than your neighborhood" and take a fancy to me and drop.

  10. It's kinda scary, isn't it? And all that for $2.

    Thanks for posting this info, AC. So many people think that because they set their profiles as "private" they control access to their info. Not so.
  11. Still, I mean, most of that info is info anyone can get, for free, just by following you around for a day.
    In reality, the only way you can be 100% is to never leave the house and never speak with anyone.
  12. I don't think anyone expects or aims to have 100% control on the info; that's impossible in this society. That would mean no driver's license, no utilities, no school, no job... From not leaving the house and not talking to anyone, to posting personal info on the Internet is quite a leap.
  13. I agree with this, but when I know that there are target sites where thousands of people HUNT other people I can and will be more cautious.

    I think the major point of what I posted is that, like many have responded on here, "profile set to private" doesn't mean private at all to the people you are really trying to keep it private from.

    I live in Milwaukee (ahem, Dahmer...need I say more?) so I felt the need to post this as well

    Fears of impostors increase on Facebook
    (CNN) -- Without his input, Bryan Rutberg's Facebook status update -- the way friends track each other -- suddenly changed on January 21 to this frightening alert:

    His online friends saw the message and came to his aid. Some posted concerned messages on his public profile -- "What's happening????? What do you need?" one wrote. Another friend, Beny Rubinstein, got a direct message saying Rutberg had been robbed at gunpoint in London and needed money to get back to the United States.
    So, trying to be a good friend, Rubinstein wired $1,143 to London in two installments, according to police in Bellevue, Washington.
    Meanwhile, Rutberg was safe at home in Seattle.
    Rubinstein told CNN he misses the money, but it's perhaps more upsetting to feel tricked by someone who impersonated his friend on Facebook, a social-networking site where millions of friends converse freely online.
    "It's an invasion of your whole privacy, who your friends are," he said.
    While reports of extortion and false impersonation have been common in phony phone calls and fake e-mails, similar fraud hasn't been reported on Facebook until recently. Now a number of complaints are surfacing.
    In response to the trend, the Better Business Bureau in late January issued a warning on its Web site, intended for Facebook's 150 million users: know who your friends are and keep your sensitive information private.

    In the Seattle case, a hacker appeared to steal Rutberg's identity to get money from his friends by toying with their emotions.
    In Wisconsin, police accuse an 18-year-old man of posing as a woman on Facebook to get high school boys to send him naked photos of themselves.
    Anthony Stancl, of New Berlin, Wisconsin, allegedly used the naked photos he had solicited to force the young men into sex acts with him, according to a criminal complaint.
    Stancl was arrested on 12 felony complaints, including sexual assault of a child younger than 16 and possession of child pornography, the complaint says.
    CNN left multiple messages for Stancl's attorney but did not receive a response.
    Stancl is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail and has no previous criminal record, according to CNN affiliate WISN.
    There are primarily two ways to stay safe on Facebook, said Jim Lewis, director of the technology and policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. First, make sure your computer anti-virus programs are up to date; and tell online companies you want better privacy protection, he said.
    In a statement, Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt told CNN that impersonation schemes affect fewer than 1 percent of Facebook's 150 million users. He would not comment on whether the rate of such incidents is increasing, but said any increase in the total number of impersonations could be due to the fact that the site is growing by 600,000 users per day.
    "In many cases, the scammer has added a new contact e-mail to attempt to maintain control of the account," Schnitt said in a prepared statement. "To combat this, we're instituting changes that will better notify users when their account is modified and empowering them to reverse these changes."
    Rutberg, the Seattle man who had his Facebook page hacked, said he worked with the site to regain access to his online profile within a day.
    All Internet users should be aware their identities can be compromised, and "every user of the Web should be better educated," Rutberg said.
    Like other types of Internet fraud, Facebook impersonation cases are difficult to solve and costly to pursue, said Officer Greg Grannis, spokesman for the Bellevue Police Department in Washington.
    "We are not investigating this case," he said, noting that a report on the case had been filed with his office. "It is pretty much at a dead end."
    Because the money went to London, it would be nearly impossible to send officers out to investigate the case, he said.

    Facebook says it is taking measures to reduce impersonations. The popular site also offers these preventative tips for those who want to take the security of their online profile into their own hands:
    • Be suspicious of anyone -- even friends -- who ask for money over the Internet. Verify their circumstances independently, either by calling them directly, or checking with mutual friends.
    • Choose a strong password and use unique credentials for each of your Web accounts. Facebook says hackers tap into one site and then try to reuse passwords on others.
    • Use an up-to-date browser that features an anti-phishing blacklist.
    • Use and run anti-virus software on your computer.
    • Reset your Facebook password if you suspect your account has been compromised.
    • Have more than one contact e-mail address. This will help if one of them is hacked.

    Link to the entire Wisconsin Case is here
  14. My point is that personal info is available to people where you work, friends of your family, people who you buy any service from, etc, etc. To get all worked up over posting pics or filling out profiles on social sites is a bit futile, if you ask me.

    In reality, the vast majority of crimes are committed by people you meet daily. The only reason MySpace involved cases are so well publicized is cause it rarely happens.
  15. Exactly...but they are using the social networks to increase the number of people they come into contact especially in their own area. It is just making it easier for stalkers and sex offenders to in my own neighborhood to know where I am.

    Something as innocent as a status message saying I am headed to starbucks to study could give a true psychopath all he needs to know when the perfect time to strike is.

    *note* I posted the story about the Wisconsin kid not because I can relate (I am not a HS boy) but because New Berlin, WI is mere miles from where I live.