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Many of us are sharing too much information on social media

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(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Ai825)

Many people are sharing too much personal data online, leaving them vulnerable to hacking and social engineering attacks.

This is the conclusion of a new report from security firm Tessian, which claims that even making accounts private has little effect, because the majority of friend requests are accepted.

Based on a poll of 4,000 professionals in the UK and US, the report shares insights on how the mind of a hacker operates and how people are serving up pivotal information on a platter.

Most people post on social media at least once a week (84 percent), with almost half (42 percent) posting daily. In many cases, they post material that can be used to guess a password or craft a social engineering attack: names and pictures of their children, birthday celebrations, job changes etc.

Most people (55 percent) have a public profile on Facebook, and just a third (32 percent) have privacy filters on their Instagram account, which makes the work of a malicious actor easy.

The report details how a criminal may make use of data posted online to craft a phishing scam. For example, if they were to identify a new employee at a company via LinkedIn, they could spoof a message from a senior executive.

According to Tessian, workers also share too much information in automatic Out of Office replies, such as length of absence, which could be used as part of a spoofing attack.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.