Photos on social networks can become a weapon in the hands of attackers. According to 99firms, every day 95 million photos of users appear on Instagram. This is a huge number, and when you consider that there are other social networks in the world, the number of photos uploaded to the Internet is hard to comprehend. And most people are not even aware of the danger they are putting themselves in by sharing snippets of their life with other people.
Experts in computer security say that a picture that has ended up on the Net sometimes helps hack into a user's account or becomes a powerful tool for extorting money from other people. And these are not just words - there are real cases, which were even mentioned in the news.
With the advent of smartphones with good cameras, sharing news with friends has become much easier. People don't have to write messages about how well they vacationed or what new things they bought. It's much easier to take a picture of what's going on and share it in a private message or directly on your profile.
But many people do not even think about the fact that in addition to friends, these photos are seen by ill-wishers. This is especially true for people with a large number of subscribers - there is a high probability that fraudsters are among them.
When posting photos and videos, some people may accidentally show a sign with their residential address or reveal their date of birth. They may also talk about their favorite authors, pets and so on. And after all, this information is often listed as an answer to social media checklists.
They are needed in order to regain access to the account in case the password is lost. But once this information is known, malefactors can also gain access to the page. This approach to cracking online accounts is called social engineering. Fortunately, many people today set up two-factor authentication, and in order to recover a password, you have to enter a code that comes to your phone number.
But there's another danger in posting photos to social media. Some cybercriminals create a copy of a person's page with all their photos. Then, using it, they write to that person's acquaintances with a request to transfer money to the card number. They come up with different excuses for the request.
Looking through the list of friends of the "copied" person, the attackers find out the name of his father, mother and other close relatives. Next, they choose a victim from the list of friends and write a message in which they mention the names of relatives. In this way they easily gain the trust and force the confused user to transfer money.
According to Joseph Thurow, author of books and articles on media, it is important for users to make sure that the answers to the control questions are not the same as the real facts. It's also important to make sure photos don't inadvertently contain sensitive information.
This is especially true for active smartphone users. The Journal of Marketing once published a study stating that most personal information is contained in content that is posted via smartphones.
Journalist Daniel Verlaan recently illustrated the dangers of publishing photos on social media. He noticed that the Dutch Minister of Defense had published a photo on his Twitter, where the meeting code and the password for the Zoom closed conference could be discerned.
Using this data, he was able to connect to the conversation of the EU defense ministers right in the middle of the discussion. He waved at them and left the conference after being told that he was breaking the law. After the incident, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte urged other ministers to be more careful about the photos they publish.
In the future, cybercriminals will be able to deceive users in even more sophisticated ways. Based on photos from social networks they will be able to create videos, where people are supposedly personally asking for help. Artificial intelligence will help them in this, namely the deepfake technology, which allows you to impose a person's face on another body.