Think that posting a picture on a social media website could put you in danger? Not danger like getting in trouble with family, friends, or an employer, but physical danger?
For even the poorest of cyber stalkers, it’s not that difficult to determine where someone lives based on their Facebook profile alone; indeed, there are many pictures on social media websites that show people standing if front of their homes, cars, workplaces, etc. With location-based sites added to the mix, every time you “check in” some place means that you’re saying, “I am not at home. I am here,” providing crooks vital information.
While no one wants to come home and find that their home has been burglarized, there are worse things that can happen…
Did you know that smartphones use metadata and GPS stamps to “tag” digital photos that encode Lat & Long coordinates into the image? Tags that, in essence, reveal the exact location a photo was taken? What if that picture was taken in your living room?
If you post that picture online, Ben Jackson, co-founder of the site ICanStalkU.com, says that someone can find out where you are instantly if they know how.
According to an interview on FoxNews.com, the site monitors Twitter and uses Google maps to determine when, and where, random people are located. The site shows the picture, the Tweet, and the location of numerous people in real time. The side has tracked over 50,000 different photos using geotags in 90 days.
The pictures provide “breadcrumbs,” or bits of information that aid navigation, that can provide unwanted intruders information regarding places people are likely to go. Jackson said that they analyze data for patterns and are able to discern “where your house is, where you may work, what your favorite haunts may be, a coffee shop, restaurant, a place that you like to go to like a club of some sort. We can then piece those together and say, ‘hey, look at that. Every Friday night they like to go to this bar over on Main Street.'”
Criminals can use this data, combined with other information, to stalk victims or even burglarize homes. As the online technology becomes widespread, criminals using the Internet to commit crimes is expected to skyrocket, as the crooks are no longer required to seek opportunity, but just need for someone to deliver it them.