Why You Should Think Before Geotagging that Selfie

By on May 24, 2016

Do you remember the first time you posted on social media? Maybe it was a blog on LiveJournal or an album of prom pictures on Facebook (bet that’s private now). If you’re like me, pressing that ‘share’ button probably felt a little scary. Who can actually see this stuff? Where does it go? As our reliance on social media has grown and sharing has become ingrained in our society, that sense of fear has somewhat lifted.

We’ve become more comfortable sharing online, and heck, even celebrities are broadcasting their lives everywhere from Snapchat to Twitter! Who cares what little ol’ me has to say when Beyoncé is live streaming? Let me be the bearer of bad news – anytime that you share personal information through your mobile device, you’re not just sharing with family and friends, you could be sharing with strangers too.

Maybe you want to show off your great hair day or check in at the airport before hopping on a flight, but always think about your safety before sharing your location online. Sharing a photo of your home on Instagram with location sharing enabled could potentially share that private information with predators. Every piece of information that we share online contains valuable data, and your location is information that not everyone should be privy to – especially online predators.

There are times that sharing your location is valuable, like with family members through secure apps, but as a general rule, sharing this data should be on your no-no list.

Follow our rules of thumb, and keep your whereabouts on the down-low:

  • Just Say No: This one may be tough to swallow, but we recommend turning off the GPS function on your phone altogether. This stops apps and even your camera from gathering location-based information from your device. To turn off location sharing on your device, head to privacy in the system’s settings, then toggle the ‘location services’ button to off.
  • Go Ahead, Be Picky: If you think turning off all of your location sharing is overboard, then take a minute to review all of the apps that are using your location information. This information can also be found under ‘Location Services,’ and can be an enlightening look into just how much your phone knows about you. Look through the apps that use this data, and unselect the ones that you don’t want to have access. Some of these may shock you!
  • If You Didn’t Geotag, Did You Even Go?: We’re living in the age of sharing. We share when something big happens in our lives, and even what we’re having for lunch. The next time you just have to share that latte art, skip adding location. Geotagging photos not only shares where you are with your followers – but also with cybercriminals who may be tracking your moves.
  • Out of Site, Out of Mind: A comprehensive security software does the work for you! McAfee® Mobile Security, for both Android and iOS, offers a variety of protections, including privacy advice to help you better understand how your mobile device is accessing your personal information.

Still craving more mobile security tips? Make sure to follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter and like us on Facebook.


About the Author

Lianne Caetano

Lianne Caetano currently serves as Director of Global Product Marketing for the Cloud BU at McAfee. During her 7+ years at McAfee, she has held leadership roles in the consumer and enterprise divisions where she has helped shape product portfolios and strategic direction along with advocating for cybersecurity education. Prior to McAfee, Lianne has worked ...

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