Advertising To The Bad Guys

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com SAL.2002007747
http://actvra.in/4YnD

I recently read the latest Tom Clancy novel (okay, it's ACTUALLY written under his name since it's tough for dead authors to pen new books) and the premise of the book is "What if the bad guys used social media to target the good guys?".  In this particular case, ISIS is going after government officials, Special Forces military, etc., on OUR home turf, and using public information sources to find them.

Now while most of us have no reason to fear being targeted by terrorists, do you ever stop and think about how much information we tell total strangers about ourselves? 

Facebook is the main offender and sometimes I'm amazed at just how much people will post in Facebook groups that are composed of thousands of members. 

It's common for me to read the EXACT dates someone plans a vacation as they advertise for a dog sitter.  Now these people aren't Facebook friends, nor even Friends of Friends, but complete strangers posting in a community forum, and thanks to a quick search of online home ownership public records, they've just told everyone "Want any of my stuff?  I live at 123 Main and my home will be unguarded from December 17 to 27."

And while crime rates are VERY low in our market, the fact is they aren't zero!  But they're low enough that people don't tend to think crime could happen to THEM, that's something that happens to OTHER people.

So people leave their laptops & tablets in an unlocked car in their driveway.

They take the big screen TV box they got for Christmas and don't break down the box and put it inside another bag to hide the contents when they put out the trash.

And they post on Facebook or Instagram or wherever pictures of their stuff or where they're going to be.

Home sellers put their homes on the market with their kids names prominently featured in the kids' bedroom photos.

They set the stage for bad things to POTENTIALLY happen.

Maybe it's still my Navy training at work decades later, but I don't like to post where I am until AFTER I've come and gone from a trip.  I don't expect anything bad to happen, but I'm not going to make it easy for the bad guys either.   

To show my age a bit, to quote Hill Street Blues "Let's be careful out there."!


Serving Warren County Ohio area home buyers & sellers,
Bill of Liz and Bill aka BLiz

 

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  LizSpear@Go-Concepts.com

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Ambassador
2,353,103
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Sharon, I don't get it either!

Steve, I get those requests, but fortunately rarely!

Rochelle, To each their own, just not what I want to do.

Ingrid, I don't think it's going to stop either.

Karen, Both smart moves.

Diana, I need to work on taking those vacations so I'd have something to post about.

Dale, Glad to help and Happy New Year to you also!

Larry,  Just enough of them to make sure we pay attention to what we do and don't say.

 

Dec 29, 2016 03:59 PM #72
Rainmaker
297,133
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Hi Bliz,

I think there's nothing wrong with a little bit of cynicism these days about what we reveal.     Not just social media!   Have your neighbor pick up the daily newspapers if you're traveling.

Interesting tidbit - on Chrome, when I was not logged in as an AR member, I could not see your service area map.    I logged in to make my comment, and Voila!  I could see the map.

Dec 29, 2016 05:01 PM #73
Ambassador
2,353,103
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

M.C., fortunately my daily paper is strictly electronic version at this point.  And I've seen some occasional issues with our service map too.  Just some idiosyncrocies brower to browser, not sure why.

Dec 29, 2016 05:25 PM #74
Rainmaker
85,948
Lauren Williams, CPO
Casual Uncluttering LLC - Woodinville, WA
Professional Organizer: Puget Sound homes

You are SOOOO right about this. Variation on the theme - there's been a gang that targets the cars of movie-goers in my neighborhood. Break in to the car, steal the registration, time themselves to the movie, go to the homeowners' house and rob the home. UGH.

Dec 29, 2016 06:50 PM #75
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Lauren, Makes total sense.  Watch someone park so you know they're in the theater for a couple of hours at a minimum.  And seems most times even when someone has video at the home, it's at a bad angle to provide a good picture of the perpetrator.

Dec 29, 2016 08:05 PM #76
Rainmaker
276,175
Melissa Jackson
United Country Real Estate FW - Fort Worth, TX
REALTOR® Matching Buyers & Sellers

You nailed it Liz. Happens year round on social media.  I'm shocked at some of the information I see.  Recently, a girl posted in a local group (which anyone could get in) all about her new job and she has a baby that needs to be cared for.  REALLY! I may not know the situation, but letting a stranger come to my home and keep my child is unthinkable.  There's also the vacation post. Your right, people think it's not going to happen in their neighborhood.  

I made a secret - private group for family and very close friends only.  Some stuff should never be posted in public.  

My daughter's family left for a week trip to lego land in Calif.  No one knew. Now they are home and can share those pictures with friends and their friends and their friends... you never know who is reading! 

Dec 29, 2016 08:40 PM #77
Rainmaker
541,284
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Thanks for sharing Liz and Bill Spear 

   I agree with what you say in your blog...with one caveat...

        We are protected by Glock and Remington at our house...

             and I hope for the sake of any burglar or thief...

                 that they break in while we are gone.

Dec 30, 2016 08:01 AM #78
Rainmaker
1,331,601
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

I'm still trying to figure out why anyone posts any of their personal business on Facebook. Do strangers, or even acquaintances, really give a darn if I go on vacation, see a movie, or enjoy a meal away from home? I doubt it. 

Dec 30, 2016 09:56 AM #79
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Melissa, I suspect a renter can get away with more since their address may not be public record, but for the rest of us that own homes, a record search here pinpoints the address pretty easily.

Mike, You just never know who (or what) you'll find if you go into someone else's home when you don't belong there.

Marte, I will on occassion recommend a movie if it was super, but a "meh" movie isn't going to ever make it to my wall.  For the most part, what I do day to day isn't making it to Facebook.

Dec 30, 2016 12:27 PM #80
Rainer
4,980
Len Inkster
Future Proof Property Inspections - Niagara Falls, ON

There are four main drivers for attacks launched through the internet.

  1. Nuisance Attacks - These are attacks by amateur or hobbyist mal-contents who think it's either amusing or some means of promoting their skills within a semi-clandestine group for bragging rights.   While these attacks are generally no more threatening than graffiti artists, because they attack your personal online profile, the effects can be difficult to clean-up, and reputation recovery can be time consuming.
  2. Asset Attacks - These are attacks that range from the opportunist to the concerted criminal attacks.  These are aimed at stealing or extorting money from you or your business by either tricking you into believing some story from them, or by stealing sufficient personal information they can impersonate you or create an attack profile on your electronic  finances and assets.   These attacks are usually non-specific and wide ranging to ensure greatest possible uptick on the people caught by the attack.  The are usually perpetrated by organised groups that use anonymous methods to get payment without being caught.
  3. Physical Attacks - These attacks are aimed at you as a person or your physical assets.  These are wide ranging attacks that can either be to defame or discredit you or your business, or to privde an opportunity to attack you or your physical assets.  These generally have two sub-drivers, you are known to the attacker and they dislike you (for whatever reason) or your net value to them attacking you is worth the risk they percieve they are taking in the attack.  This in the real world is equivalent to name-calling, physical bullying, abduction through to murder and are generally carried out on a one-to-one basis.
  4. Cyber-Warfare - This is the category reserved by the press for state-sponsored hacking, but can equally be applied to industrial espionage and reputation hacking.  This is where the attacker selectively chooses high-profile or critically sensitive assets  and can use the control or the destruction of these to bring down their target.

The internet is pervasive, and i suspect many of you have already put too much out there.  For example, just from this thread I have identified that the OP is a U.S. Citizen, with either a BA or BSc degree, was in the Navy for at least 4 years with specific skills that would align to weapons knowledge that may be of importance to a foreign country.   From this I can deduce that his income is hgh, and he might be a prime target for an asset or cyber-warfare attacks.  I could post his real address here, but won't (to prove to the OP it is simple his street address adds up to 14).

Because this information is so readily available, I have taken a different approach, my profile is totally public.  I have multiple avatars, all real, that depict me in the different settings that befit the social media sites I have accounts on.  My address and contact details are publicly available, and I regularly post disinformation about my whereabouts including creating remote check-ins to facebook.   I turned my location tracking off on my mobile devices and obfuscate my browsing when using financial services, using private browsing or the tor network, which stops anyone identifying my immediate location.

I have three firewalls between my home computer and internet and four anti-virus, malware checkers in different locations on my internal network.  I NEVER do financial transactions on the internet from my mobile devices and would rather play russian roulette that use Apple-pay and Google-pay or any other electronic payment service off my mobile devices.   My Chip and Pin cards are all carried in metallic covers and I've requested all tap-n-go services on my cards to be disabled.


Social Media is a critical piece of technology to allow people to market their business.   Too many people don't use it safely.   The OP is correct, you should not open up your future (or immediately current) activites to anyone on the web, customers or not, but to shy away from it or to restrict your use of it out of fear is driven by an irrational fear.

Understand what the Internet gives you and balance that with the inherent risks.  Use your social media carefully, and protect your identity from theft by ensuring everyone knows it.  And don't believe everyone who "friends" you is actually a friend.

I spent 30+ years protecting businesses and government in information systems security.  Number of times I've personally been "attacked" on the internet in that time?  once.  It was from using a swipe credit card in a gas station and having it copied and used online by an idiot.  He was caught because of the HIV security program (Humanly Impropable Velocity - i.e. you can't be in more than one place at the same time).

I've also had my personal details released "accidentally" by 3 banks, 4 major stores, 1 credit card processing company and 2 governments.  That's why when I'm asked for my SSN by a financial organisation, I tell them to take a hike.  If I can't get credit from them because of it, I don't want credit from them.

For any burglars who'd like to know where I'm going to be over the next week or so, I'll be out, but my two 78lb Rhodesian ridgebacks will be waiting for you with baited breath.  :D

 

 

Jan 01, 2017 09:23 AM #81
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Len, The ease of identification of myself or any home owner in Ohio was exactly my point.  Unless your name is something rather generic and frequent like John Smith, all you need to know is someone is a home owner and not a renter and a few county auditor searches later you'll have the name, address, price paid, date purchased, outline of the home and an aerial photo.  Couple with Google information that is readily available (or the fact that I've often mentioned my Navy background, that I'm an engineer, etc.) and most things about me aren't that hard to surmise. 

The Net is a tool, both for good and bad.  As long as we recognize that and are prudent in our use, we should be okay.  Can't stop everything bad from happening (e.g. I don't have to do anything wrong or risky to have a stored database hacked and my debit start suddenly being used in CT, but the bank figured that out within a few hours), but I'm not going to totally shackle myself either.

Jan 01, 2017 09:58 AM #82
Rainmaker
840,078
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great post and excellent warning for anyone on FB or social media!  I'd rather post FB photos after my vacation.  One good thing, as you mention above, I have a very common name and there are several of us as other shorten their name to mine.  Plus I don't have pets, so I'm batting 1000 so far!  Just kidding.  

Jan 01, 2017 04:35 PM #83
Rainer
4,980
Len Inkster
Future Proof Property Inspections - Niagara Falls, ON

Bill,  The point of my post is that once you have chosen to use the Internet as a marketing tool, you are "out there".  I agree that giving away information in a whole chunk that is easy to read and act on is pretty stupid. However the problem is far worse than that.  The people that can really do harm don't need Google or public searches, data mining using freely available big-data tools and a rudimentary knowledge of an operating system such as Unix will allow parsing of data across multiple services to collate a full profile.

If anyone thinks this sort of technology is only available to the government sponsired "security" organisations then they really need to take stock of what they post, where and when, and to whom.

 

For example, how many people that post on this site go and check to see whether the link to the site is secure?   (Tip:  If you use Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge you can't simply find this information out )

BTW,  It's not.   No certificate for this site, all information, passwords, and form fileds are passed to the server in the clear.  A simple scan of the traffic to and from the IP address on this site and all the data can be captured.  

How many people use the same username and password on this site that they use on others?

I'm not disagreeing with you with respect to your message, but I don't think you go far enough in your warning.  One needs to realise that even when you are carefully selecting your messages to protect yourself from the "bad guys" you need to ensure that the "bad guys" can't use the information you do post to get further access to the stuff you might not want them to see.

Jan 02, 2017 07:43 AM #84
Ambassador
814,425
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Liz and Bill Spear 
Excellent advice! Remind me to tell you the story of how FB cost a loquacious Seller $5000 ...  All the best - Lynn

Jan 06, 2017 02:15 PM #85
Ambassador
2,353,103
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Len, This was never meant to be an all inclusive general warning about all the hazards of the Internet.  They're out there, and I'm not the best person to preach that message.  I sell houses.

Lynn, Wrong post, wrong time and big bucks can be lost during negotiations.

Jan 06, 2017 04:11 PM #86
Rainmaker
548,658
JM Padron, CCIM, MRICS
REMAX COMMERCIAL ASSOCIATES - Weston, FL
CCIM, MRICS, Serving South Florida

Excellent post, people out there don't get it, social media is grea but I think has to be limited and not so open that one can be in danger!

Jan 08, 2017 05:09 AM #87
Ambassador
2,353,103
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

JM, Just being a little prudent can make a big difference.

Jan 08, 2017 08:12 AM #88
Rainmaker
1,416,899
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

A little paranoia is a good thing...too much and you get admitted to the psych ward!  You are right...Hillstreet Blues reference does show your age!

Jan 13, 2017 05:54 AM #89
Rainmaker
719,780
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor,CRS,e-Pro
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
Co-Host of Mail-Right's: Real Estate Agent Podcast

I always post on my friends sites "party at John's house Saturday night, he's posting from Florida he'll be gone all weekend!"

Idiots. I see many of my friends do this.

I always post and backdate after I get back. People never know where I am.

 

Jan 18, 2017 08:00 PM #90
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Gary, I always enjoyed that show :)

Thomas, most times you won't even know I've been anywhere even after the fact :)

Jan 18, 2017 08:54 PM #91
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