We are guilty of a little bit of oversharing on social media, be it your hundreds of holiday photos, or a story from a night out that no one needed to know, but what about when oversharing goes too far, and your personal details get hacked? New research has revealed that at least one in five 16 – 25 year olds in the UK have fallen victim to fraud via social media, where hackers send out fake messages to retrieve personal information.
The research, carried out by Nationwide Building Society, found that an enormous 70% of young people in Brighton have witnessed some kind of oversharing on social media, which is what hackers rely on to access the information they require.
One in three young people don’t have any sort of privacy settings protecting their social media accounts.
The same research also found that across the country, one in three young people don’t have any sort of privacy settings protecting their social media accounts, which allows complete strangers to access their profiles, making them susceptible to any amount of fraudulent activity.
We had a chat with young people in Brighton to see how they treat their privacy on social media. Interestingly, whilst many said their actual accounts were private, as they didn’t want strangers viewing the photos that they shared, they will share personal information such as their card details without a second thought.
Katie, a 19 year old who is about to start at the University of Sussex, told us that her Instagram and Facebook are completely private, but she seems to have no reservations when it comes to things like her banking information or her passwords. “I store a few passwords in my notes and I send a lot of my details over whatsapp or messenger if someone needs to transfer money into my account – I just do that automatically, without thinking where my details could end up.”
Katie isn’t alone in this habit of storing personal information on her phone, with over half over those who partook in the research saying that they also keep their passwords stored on their phones, with a few people even shockingly storing this information in their browser. It appears to be this casual attitude towards privacy that is putting British youngsters at risk – the study also found that 43% of those who had been hacked had no idea how their information had been accessed, nor how to defend themselves from future hacking.
To show how easy it is to hack a phone with just a small amount of information, the people behind the new research enlisted the help of an ethical hacker. Watch the video below to see how your information could easily fall into the wrong hands.
The Director of Fraud at Nationwide Building Society, Stuart Skinner, has given young people a warning on how much they share, as well as some advice on how to protect themselves: “Social media is a great way for people to connect with friends or family, but it’s important to think about the information you are sharing with others.”
“Check privacy settings so that only vetted friends can see updates, don’t give away too much information or anything you wouldn’t want a fraudster to see, have a strong password that doesn’t use any of your personal information and stop and think before sharing.”