Before you click away – don’t worry. We’re not here to talk about data breaches, passwords or how to stay safe online. We’ll leave that to the cyber security consultants thanks. Instead, we want to talk about social media from a different angle – home security.
But wait, you say, what does social media have to do with home security? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot! And if you don’t believe us, all you have to do is read on.
Be honest, how often have you excitedly announced that you’re going on holiday on Facebook? Posted photos from your luxury getaway all over social media, sharing what a great time you’re having? Don’t worry, we all do it, even though we really shouldn’t. Because all you’re doing there is rolling out a big red carpet for all the local burglars to have a go at getting into your house.
In fact, research shows that there are around 50,000 holiday related posts made across social media every day – and that around 80% of burglars use social media to plan their next target.
Think about it. What you’ve just done is announce to the world that your house is empty. Even if you have someone looking in on animals in the house, or watering plants, thieves will know that the property is empty most of the time, particularly at night. That makes you a very, very appealing target. On average, 1 in 12 holidaymakers are broken into once they post on social media about their travels. So do yourself a favour, and if you are going on holiday, wait until you get back to post about it on social media.
The Hidden Danger In Images
Did you know that every time you post a photo to social media, there is a ton a meta data that goes with it? This is hidden information, coded into the image, that tells you all about it. And there’s a LOT more information in there than you think. Around 460 metadata tags in fact. For example, one image will include:
- Camera details like:
- Physics (shadows, lighting, reflections)
- Geometry (vanishing points, distances, 3D models)
- Image sensor (fixed pattern noise, colour filter defects)
- Optical (lens distortion or aberrations)
- File format (metadata, compression, thumbnails, markers)
- Pixel (scaling, cropping, cloned or resaving)
- Image metatags, including:
- Image size
- Location data
- Smaller thumbnails of the image
- Make and model of the camera that took the photo
- GPS co-ordinates when the photo was taken
- Timestamps for when the photo was taken
It’s those last few that are really worrying. Because if someone knows how to read that metadata, they can know the exact location of your office, your living room, or your favourite walking spots. Don’t forget, that data is captured when the photo is taken, not when it’s uploaded to social media. If they look at a couple of images, they can see if there are patterns – if you always go for a run early in the morning, and stop for a break in a particular spot. If you’re always at work between certain hours, or if you tend to stay at home on certain days. They can then use that information to craft the perfect break-in, since they know your address and when you won’t be home.
The bright side of this one is that you can do something about it. If you’re taking photos with your phone, you can easily strip images of those details, and stop your phone recording them in the future, just by selecting the right options.
And that’s just 2 of the big reasons social media could be the weak spot in your home security. Now, we’re not saying social media is a bad thing. It’s a fantastic tool for keeping in touch with loved ones, especially during this difficult time. But it’s also something we all take for granted, and if you’re evaluating your home security, it’s something you need to think about. If you’d like to know more, or just get some free advice about home security, we would love to help. Just get in touch with our team today to arrange your free consultation.