If you are the kind of person who feels jittery about posting your loved ones’ photos online, then you are not alone.
According to the Digital Superstitions survey by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, more than half of the respondents in the Middle East, Turkiye, and Africa (META) region (55 per cent) do not post photos with their partners or spouses on social networks.
Kaspersky says posting personal photos on social media can have certain negative consequences. Due to data breaches, photos can become accessible to unintended audiences, risking personal information exposure. Cybercriminals might use photos to gather information for identity theft or phishing attacks. Location data embedded in photos can even compromise physical security by revealing a user’s whereabouts.
Users surveyed in the META region provide different reasons for refraining from posting photos with their loved ones. In most cases (58 per cent) people do not want anyone to know about their personal life. 18 per cent of respondents do not like how they look in the photos. 19 per cent of respondents said that their partner does not want the joint photos shared publicly (men voiced this opinion more often than women). Apart from that, 22 per cent of people surveyed are afraid that they or their relationships may get jinxed if photos are shared publicly.
“In some cases, photos on social networks can become a source of information for intruders and cybercriminals – especially if they are accompanied by explicit captions or geotags. One of the possible risks is to face doxing. This is a phenomenon in which ill-wishers publicly post information about a person in order to harm their reputation or cause persecution. Doxers use, for example, personal photos or videos that can put a person in an awkward position, fragments of personal correspondence – usually taken out of context, home address, phone number, information about the place of work, etc. Therefore, before posting a photo with a description – personal or shared with another person – it is important to think about whether such a publication can do harm, and ask permission to post a post,” says Brandon Muller, technology expert and consultant for the MEA region at Kaspersky.
To ensure that posting photos on social networks brings only joy, Kaspersky recommends:
- Do not upload photos with confidential data, such as scans of documents.
- Do not share information about your friends and family members on social networks if the account is public.
- Check your privacy settings on social networks: it is better to keep your profile private and add people you know personally as friends.
- Use strong and different passwords for each account, change them periodically, and use password managers to create and store them.
- Set up two-factor authentication in those services that allow it.
- Do not transfer data about other people without their consent to third parties.