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How to stop leaking information about yourself online | BBC Ideas

I think most people would be surprised at how much information they unknowingly give away online and how that can leave them vulnerable when people like me come along and collect all of that information., It's incredibly easy to track anyone with any modern technology now., It's incredibly difficult For anyone to try and avoid detection. When I went on the run back in the 1990s, there was still just about a chance to do it because it was very resource intensive for either spies or corporations to track people who went on the run..

I am Scott Helme, I am a cybersecurity researcher and an ethical hacker.. I am Annie Machon. I am a former intelligence officer with MI5, the UK domestic security service.. So I think many people would be very surprised about what we can find out about them. Online. I met someone recently where we demonstrated this and with just their name and knowing the general area where they lived, we were able to narrow down their social media profile..

We have things like the births, marriages and deaths register in the UK, where we can look up your marriage certificate or your birth certificate. From there. We can see parents and spouses, and we can start to spread out this net of information that we can gather about. You from very simple resources. Social media over the last decade has become the spies dream. Back in the 1990s. My job as an intelligence officer was to build up profiles and investigate targets, and that could take weeks trying to get a shape of someone's life.

Their contacts. Where they worked their relationships, their views, their activities, their hobbies, everything. Now, of course, with social media. We just offer it all up for free voluntarily.. I think privacy has changed so dramatically in the last 10 years. If we go back 10 years, it would have been very difficult to gather information about someone very analogue, very offline.. We may have to collect pieces of paper or documents and now in the digital world, it's a click of a finger and a search on the internet, and we can have a lot of information about someone..

Social is really easy. Where you can pick up Twitter send a tweet that my internet has stopped working, so I might tweet my internet company or more recently, my water supply stops working and the water company will have status updates and people will comment on them, and we now know that All of these people are users of this company's services. So, if I wanted to impersonate them, I could call one of those individuals.

If I had their number and say ``, Hey Sarah, I am from the water company. Just regarding your complaint. Could we go through account? Security, could you confirm your postcode for me? Please ?'' And I am then extracting more information using the original tweet as the leverage to get you to trust me.. It'S interesting to ask `` Who might be spying on us ?''. I mean obviously for someone who worked in the intelligence agencies, I think of espionage and spying and surveillance in a particular way where you are given targets to investigate..

First of all, yes, it might be the law enforcement intelligence agencies, depending on what you're getting up to.. It could be political activism as simple as that. Two. It will definitely be the big social media corporations because we are their product and the question is then to realistically say: ``. Ok, what might be the threat to me personally? How can I best protect myself from those threats? ?'' You don’t have to be on the run from the government or MI5..

You might just want a bit of privacy.. Smart phones are little spy. Phones in your pocket. Turn off your smartphone, ideally leave it at home.. Another really good thing for people to look at is the privacy settings on applications on their smartphones.. So maybe you don't want an application to be able to look through your photographs.. You can go into the settings on your phone and disable these things.. So go into your device's settings, have a look through those and just think ``.

You know this app doesn't need my microphone., So I am just going to turn that off make sure it can't listen to me.. It doesn't need my location. I am just going to turn that off as well.'' And just start to take a little bit more control over all of the information that you're sharing.. One thing you can do, of course, is to invest in older technology., Get an old burner phone that you might just use for phone calls and that's it.

Use an old laptop and then a whole suite of privacy. Software on that laptop as well.. Another really great way of protecting yourself if you're travelling a lot using public WIFI at an airport or a train station. They commonly ask for your first name and last name in order to log in what you can do is give them a different first name and last name to log in and you'll still be able to use the WIFI network afterwards..

This may sound a little paranoid, but when I was in Berlin a few years ago, at the height of the Snowden disclosures, if you went to parties, you were expected to put your mobile phones in a tin, a biscuit tin, which then went into the fridge to Stop signals going in and coming out to stop the phone snooping on you.. I think it's really important that people make conscious decisions about the information that they share because, often when we share this information, you can never guarantee to be able to take that back..

If I send a tweet to a company - and I want to make a complaint about their service, I may be able to delete that tweet later, but everyone's already seen that and knows that I had that interaction so making this conscious decision before I take those actions. Would help me prevent leaking that information later