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Rotherham locksmith advice on social media

15th November 2015

If you've been following my blogs for a while (and if you have you probably deserve some sort of medal) then you're realise that the main topics I cover have been those relating to the security of property - doors and windows, locks and fittings and what not. That's pretty much a no brainer, of course, what with me being a locksmith - after all, a blog concerning the life cycle of a butterfly would probably have raised eyebrows. I won't be quite going that far today as lepidopterology isn't quite my thing, but I will be veering a little away from my usual path as today I talk about online security.  Following the recent Talk Talk data hacking, online security has been much in the news, but the topic I'm addressing is that of social media and what we share on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  Fear not though, I won't be going too deep into the technological stuff - the only geekery in my life is lock-related, and I can barely differentiate between a terabyte and a terrapin, other than to know you'd rather the former dwelt in your laptop than the latter. 

Facebook is pretty much ubiquitous these days, and although it gets a bad rap at times, especially when distant relatives out themselves as casually racist, or acquaintances deluge us with repeated unwanted Block Jewel/Candy Crush/Kill the Beaver (it probably exists) game requests,  it can also be invaluable when it comes to keeping in touch with friends and family. Especially if it's friends and family you actually WANT to hear from. (No offence, Uncle Keith).

Dont make your home vunerable on social media

But to the point in hand (you knew I'd get there eventually),  are you totally aware of who's able to view the statuses you post on Facebook on Twitter? The great advantage of these sites is that what you share is instantly available all around the world, from your next door neighbour, to villages deep in the Brazilian rain forest. And the latter probably have a more reliable supply of broadband than yours truly.  This sharing of information is great, apart from when the very sharing of that information compromises the security of you, your family, or more likely, your property. 

Posting to all and sundry about your weekend city break in Vencie, or uploading pictures from your fortnight caravanning holiday in the Dordogne (not entirely sure where that is, but always wanted to type it) seems relatively harmless, but it's also advertising that you have left your house unoccupied. If at some point in the past you've also posted statuses that could identify you or your address, this adds up to an invaluable stream of information for your local neighbourhood burglar. This isn't just me saying it - any police force will tell you they have dealt with cases where the combination of an empty house and revealing social media information has resulted in an undisturbed break-in. 

Choosing the right online settings to keep your property safe

Despite the above, I don't want to make you live in a state of anxiety, honestly! I'm just advising you take control over the sort of people who are able to see the posts you are making. If you trust everyone with whom you're sharing, that's great, and you don't have a problem. However, this isn't always the case - people add "friends" or mutual friends all the time, sometimes even waking up with a hangover after a heavy night and finding their friend count has significantly swelled. If this sounds like you, a good idea would be to narrow down who is able to see some of your posts on Facebook. You can create all sorts of groups , carefully filtering those who you most trust from those you wouldn't trust with your grandma's Chihuahua. Then every time you post, you can decide which group you want to share with. Just select the little arrow adjacent to the "Public" button on Facebook next to your new status and this will give you all the relevant options. It's not difficult, honestly, even I can do it. 

Twitter doesn't really have this level of customisation - you can either share with everyone, or just with your followers if you have what's called a locked account. The latter is the best for keeping an eye on who is seeing what you post, but you do miss out on the whole sharing philosophy of Twitter. As such, most people choose to have their tweets available to anyone - if this is so,  take a moment before you post to think about whether anything you're saying could identify your real name and address and if it can, be very careful about giving any details concerning you being away from home on a holiday, family visit, or even Bonfire Night. The rule of thumb is not to post anything publically that you wouldn't be happy to shout out on the train. Not that I'm advising you do that either, especially in the quiet carriage.  

All the above probably sounds like just common sense, but unfortunately when we're online we sometimes think we're in our own little bubble and common sense goes out the window. The truth is that online life isn't a bubble and indiscreet revelations on a computer screen can very much impact back in reality, away from our laptops or smart phones. 

For real-world security advice, or for a free no obligation quote on any Rotherham locksmith related work, call today on 01709 711 055

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