When it comes to selfies, it’s important to realize just how wildly popular this trend has become. It’s believed that over half of all the men between 18 and 24 have been known to take selfies and a lot more than half of all the women of the same age.
It’s pretty astounding when you think about it, just how much we enjoy taking a picture of ourselves. But, of course, simply taking that picture is rarely enough, especially if the picture looks good. No, that’s taken for a reason, and it has to be uploaded to social media, like Facebook, or Twitter, or perhaps a social media that was made for this kind of thing, Instagram.
That’s great, and there’s nothing wrong with taking selfies. But, there are some issues that we decided to discuss here, mainly the problem of how taking selfies can lead to some serious trouble for you.
The Data It Contains
There’s something called metadata, and it’s something that always comes with our selfies, and some of us don’t even know about its existence. Whenever you take a picture, video or even record some regular audio, it comes with a baggage, and the baggage is in form of information.
Let’s say that you took a picture to show how good you look in your new outfit. This picture shows you, your outfit, possibly your room, and most people are careful about what can be seen in the background. What they don’t watch out for is the information like the exact coordinates where the picture was taken, the exact time and things like that. Now, you might think, okay, so what?
Well, that’s only one of the pictures. For a skilled hacker, information like these are really easy to extract, and stealing info from one picture won’t tell him much. On the other hand, posting a selfie every few hours, every day for months or even years can give someone a lot of information about you, and a great insight into your very life. They can find out where you live, where you go to school or hang out at weekends. Where you work or like to eat. Where you do your shopping, and who you visit. Everything that you do can be discovered if you capture one detail of it in a form of a selfie.
They can find out where you live, where you go to school or hang out at weekends. Where you work or like to eat. Where you do your shopping, and who you visit. Everything that you do can be discovered if you capture one detail of it in a form of a selfie.
The first thing that you must understand is that selfies can, in fact, be dangerous. Not only do the pictures carry a lot of data about the time and place of their creation, but it’s also important to remember that the picture itself might endanger you. For example, back in 2011, there was a 27-year-old man called Karen “Gary” Kazaryan in Glendale. This man attempted one big elaborate scheme when he tried to use semi-nude and even completely nude pictures of girls and woman to try and extort money from them.
Some of the pictures he got came from hacking Skype, Facebook accounts and email of his victims, and after he did this, he used those pictures to get more from other people, by impersonating women on the photos and asking people to return the favor, and many were willing to do it.
When he was finally caught, the investigators found over 3,000 compromising photos, some stolen, others were sent to him by the people he tricked. His plan was to gather as many as he could, and then to blackmail whoever he could. He would post them online and demand money in exchange for getting them off the web. Fortunately, he was caught and is facing 60 months in prison after pleading guilty to unauthorized access and identity theft.
And he’s not the only one, many people have tried something similar. For example, Katie Koestner told the story about a 16-year-old who was willing to film himself doing sexual acts after a pretty European girl whom he was regularly talking to asked him for it. After the boy sent the video, it ended up on YouTube, and his parents got the request for money and a threat that the video will remain online for all to see if the person doesn’t get paid.
Long Life of Selfies
Once you post a selfie online, it has pretty much become immortal. Yes, you can take down the picture, but you never know who might have downloaded it from your profile, or taken a screenshot of it, and on how many computers does it currently exist.
While trying to deal with this, many have turned to Snapchat, which is an app that only posts selfies for a limited time. However, this wasn’t as safe and secure as users believed, and hackers demonstrated the ability to hack the app and posted phone numbers and usernames of 4 million different people. And it’s even discovered that you can actually save the Snapchat images without the sender knowing about it.
And it’s even discovered that you can actually save the Snapchat images without the sender knowing about it.
Social Engineering Threats
Social engineering is one of many types of hacking that people usually don’t consider. Many think of hacking as breaking into someone’s computer, downloading malware, and things like that. Even though many people do that for whatever reason, that’s not the only type of hacking out there. Social engineering is one of other ways where the hacker steals your identity and uses it to gain valuable info,
In order to do this, the hacker first needs to gather your information, so that they’d be able to copy you. What better way to do this than to study your profiles and figure out your habits by analyzing all of those selfies you’ve posted.
This could not only harm you but the company you work for or own, as well. Just imagine if someone got some compromising data about you or your company, and got access to it by learning about you and then accessing your data through knowledge of your interests.
For example, cybercriminals could create a fake profile that resembles yours and trick your friends and family into thinking that it’s you. They can then proceed to discover even more sensitive info by impersonating you.
This might not seem like a real thing, but we assure you that it is, and there’s a whole industry out there, created around naked selfies and videos that ex-partners post online in order to humiliate their exes after they broke up with them. Naked selfies are one of the most common categories, but people often don’t think there’s any danger to it until the relationship has ended.
Many websites exist, that were created for this very purpose, and posting nude photos of ex-girlfriends has made life a living hell for many women. Some of them had their pictures being sent to their friends, family, and coworkers, while others were randomly approached by people who would then comment on the photos they’ve seen. Some of the victims of this “trend” have had to change their name, workplace, or even the place and town where they live because their lives were ruined by an angry ex. And remember, the picture that was once posted online doesn’t go away. Ever.
So remember this next time you decide to post a selfie on Facebook, and know that this practice, no matter how fun at the moment, might lead to some serious trouble for you in the future. All that it takes is for someone to take interest in you while possessing some basic hacking skills, and who knows what situations you might end up in.