Social media is a great tool. But like every tool people use in life, it comes with its own set of dangers.

Of particular note are the threats brought about by the information people share on social media.

This infographic from Trend Micro explains the Risk of Posting in Social Networks.

The infographic lists six particular risks that can happen to anyone because of the information they post on social networks.

The first of these is Social Engineering. Sure, social engineering can happen even with the barest information available to criminals through social network. However, the more things people post online about themselves, the better crafted social engineering schemes will be.

“Cybercriminals have prepared schemes two weeks before a big event. They’ve also created schemes 3 hours after an incident,” the infographic notes.

Another “backlash”, as the infographic calls these threats, is Identity Theft. According to Trend Micro, 30 percent know someone who fell victim of identity theft.

Furthermore, 13 percent have been victims of identity theft. In fact, this author knows someone who just recently discovered there was another Facebook account with  similar name which uses her pictures which she set to public.

The third “backlash” people can get from posting too much information online is Cyber Bullying. The things people post on social media can be used by bullies for their schemes, the infographic reminds.

Trend Micro also lists some alarming facts: 88 percent of teens and 69 percent of adults have witnessed cruel behavior on social media sites.

Social media, threat, dangers, infographic,

Another threat brought about by the information we share on social networks is Damaged Reputation.

“Posting content related to alcohol, illegal drugs, and profanity could damage your reputation,” the infographic notes. We are not exactly sure why we should warn people about this but if it wasn’t obvious enough, let us stress that these not only hurt your reputation, they may also be ways you put recruiters off.

And that is exactly the point of these data shared by Trend Micro: about 3/4 of hiring managers check the social media profiles of candidates, 78 percent of recruiters frowned upon social media posts containing references to illegal drugs, 47 percent looked down on content referencing alcohol consumption.

The fifth “backlash” listed by the infographic is about Targeted Ads. “Your listed preferences may lead to targeted ads,” it says. Not that targeted ads are such a bad thing to all. The infographic notes that 1 in 4 actually like targeted ads.

The last but definitely not the least threat brought about by information shared through social media is the rise of Real-World Threats. “Posting upcoming plans may open you up to real-world threats like burglary or stalking,” it notes.

There is an abundance of information people share online. According to this, 1 in 4 users location tag their posts each month. An Average user has 229 Facebook friends who may see this. Furthermore, the infographic says that more than 20 million users in the US include their birthday and year in their profile.

Look at the infographic to see more information shared online by people via their many social network accounts.

These data is the key to all these threats, the infographic notes. “The information you share can often answer security questions,” it stresses. “Which information do people share the most [which can answer security questions?”

According to this, 63 percent share birthdays, 61 percent share schools, 51 percent share family members, 48 percent share hometowns, 44 percent share favorite TV shows, 38 percent share favorite musicians, 33 percent share favorite books, 26 percent share vacation plans, and 23 percent share pet names.

If one thought privacy settings out to be enough to stop the leakage of important information, they would be wrong. Half of people say they check their Facebook privacy settings at least every 2 – 3 months but most do not change these settings.

Read the infographic below and start thinking about ways to safeguard yourself especially when you are about to share some personal information through social media.

Social media, threat, dangers, infographic,

Featured Image by Devlon Duthie on Flickr(CC)