Social Media plays a pivotal role in out lives; from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and Google+ to name a few. Most individuals use social media to keep in touch with family, friends and keep followers abreast on activities and achievements. However, there is a darker side to Social Media.
Social media often attracts those individuals wanting to know a great deal more about you for the wrong reasons. Too much personal information online can effortlessly provide stalkers, predators and or thieves the information needed to track their victims’ locations easily and even more dangerous, their patterns.
One of the most unassuming ways we can share too much of our personal information is through our photos. Geotagging and location-based services technology can contain location information stored in metadata (EXIF data) within the photo; Location data includes accurate Global Positioning System satellite technology (GPS) coordinates of where the photo was taken, as well as the time and date it was captured. GPS has become second nature, whether using it when we are lost or directions to that new spa; GPS is embedded into the majority of the smart devices and the applications we use every day.
Honestly, is it possible for a predator on the internet to track your every move? Yes, unquestionably, thanks to the pictures you post along with the assistance of an Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) gathering resource tool. Creepy is just one of the many OSINT tools available. Cree.py is written in Python coding language with its source code available on geocreepy.
You enter a sender’s social networking username (Creepy works with Twitter and Flickr) hit the ‘Geolocate button’ and Creepy collects all the geographical information available on the platforms, via photos that the sender has shared online. The end result being a navigable embedded Google map with latitude and longitude, date and time and what is more disturbing, often the text that accompanied the location/photo-For an additional personal effect.
Many of the free applications that are either preloaded or ones we chose to download on our smartphones or tablets, utilize geotags and location services to track our patterns. The majority of these are for marketing and revenue builders, including coupons from nearby coffee shops and retailers. However, as we have seen from above, individuals need to be careful about the information we share with the millions of people on the internet. The majority of individuals do not realize that geotagging is active either because default enables it or disabling it is not showing as an option. Users need to think wisely next time they opt-in for geolocation features by clicking “allow” or “this application wants to use your current location” dialog box on your smartphone or tablet.
Below, find some options to protect yourself when it comes to geotagging.
- Before you publish images taken with your phone, convert them to PNG file format and publish them from your desktop computer.
- Change the permissions of your smartphone to ‘do not report GPS coordinates’ before posting on social media platforms.
Overview on how to disable your smartphone and/or tablet geotagging feature.
- Geotagging page
- Hit Settings
- Location Services
- Disable the applications that use GPS data.
- Hit Camera icon
- Set the geotagging option to disable
- Hit Save
- Start the camera application.
- Turn off Geotagging (Sometimes called Location storage depending on the version of Android)
Oh, and where did I write this? I am not giving away my location.
Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. Stop. Think. Connect.