NetGuide NZ - Social media talkers = victims of cyber stalkers

Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.
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Social media talkers = victims of cyber stalkers

"Hey, how's it going? My cousin went to Epsom Girls' Grammar School also, she knows your sister Jayne."

A fairly innocent conversation starter it might seem. Hell, you even have something in common with your admirer - where's the harm?

But when peeling back the layers imagine this; what if your secret messenger isn't who they say they are?

Fraudster, cyberstalker, sex pest you name it - the dark underbelly of the internet resurfaces again.

Continuous advances in technology have allowed stalkers to go online, with perpetrators accessing personal information from the most innocent of sources.

Speaking exclusively with Techday.com, Greg Boyle, Trend Micro's Senior Global Product Marketing Manager of Consumer Mobility, warns that Kiwis love of sharing could ultimately prove their downfall.

"Kiwis tend to share some of the more critical personal information over social media," admits Boyle, drawing on the company's research of the ANZ region.

"What may seem like innocent updates such as what school you went to, your date of birth and your family members can actually pose a serious security threat."

If you set up an online bank account for example, says Boyle, think of the types of security questions they would ask for?

Your mother's maiden name, the street you grew up on, the name of your school etc.

"All of these pieces of information have already been shared on social media, and are widely available to the public," Boyle warns.

"If a cyberstalker knows where you went to school, your family members and your age they can quickly behind a relationship with you that could easily spiral out of control."

Despite the warnings however, Boyle was quick to remind Kiwis sharing should be encouraged, but people should pause and think before posting.

"It's not about sharing," he says. "Social media is there for people to share and enjoy that interaction but it's about thinking about what you're posting for a second, thinking who your friends are and what privacy settings you have in place."

To read more about Greg Boyle's view on Kiwi social media habits check back next week for the October issue of NetGuide.

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