If you have a teen applying for college, the New York Times article, “They loved your GPA then they saw your tweets”, may invoke a silent scream. The article highlights the growing trend of admission officers looking at college applicants social media profiles. It shares how inappropriate tweets and posts may influence a college’s decision.
The article references a Kaplan Test Prep study which found 31% of admission officers have checked an applicant’s online profile. This is an increase from 26% in 2012. Although this number is increasing, most applicants will not have their social media profiles checked. Colleges receive too many applications to review every applicant’s online profile. According the New York Time’s article, admission officers are more likely to go online if they receive information about a student’s profile or they want to learn more about an award/project mentioned in the application.
The good news is out of the applications reviewed only 30% found something that negatively impacted admission. This is down from 35% in 2012 “Many students are becoming more cautious about what they post, and also savvier about strengthening privacy settings and circumventing search,” said Christine Brown, Executive Director of College Admissions programs,Kaplan Test Prep. Kaplan’s student survey showed that 22% had changed their searchable names on social media, 26% had untagged themselves from photos, and 12% had deleted their social media profiles altogether.
Even though an admission officer is unlikely to check out your teen’s profile, it is still a good idea to review it. Other people may search their name online. Some scholarship organizations research applicants online. Plus, their new roommate or the cute student in their class may check them out online. They should spend some time senior year giving their teenage digital profile a makeover.
Ms. Wolf reported this email to the police. After months of investigation, the FBI tracked down her attacker. He was a 19-year-old computer science major. Ms. Wolf was not his only victim. When arrested, he had hijacked 30-40 computers.
Nate Anderson wrote an excellent article for Ars Technica, Meet the men who spy on women through their webcams, profiling these RAT operators. These men use a type of software called RAT – Remote Administration Tools. Once the software is downloaded to the victims’ computer, the RAT operator can remotely control the computer i.e. “slave”. Once these men take over the computer, they can do anything from harassing their slave to taking inappropriate photos.
While apparently easy to do, this type of hacking is also easy to prevent. One of the simplest fixes is to cover the webcam. A sticky note over the webcam works well. If you need to use your webcam for recording or video chatting, simply remove it then stick it back on when not in use.
RAT operators can also look through your files. A sticky note will not prevent a stolen password. Thankfully, most security software and firewalls will prevent these type of attacks. This is a good time for parents to check in to make sure teens are keeping their software up to date. Teen should also be careful when downloading files and stick to well-known sites. To be extra safe, it doesn’t hurt to buy them a package of sticky notes.
This week I am guest blogger for CSID. CSID is a leading provider of global, enterprise level identity protection and fraud detection solutions and technologies.They recently published a study on Child Identity Theft: A Parenting Blind Spot.
5 Pieces of Information Kids Should Not Share Online
When I talk to my kids about what not to post online, I focus primarily on information that would allow a stranger to contact them. Their information is also valuable to identity thieves. Thieves search kids’ social media accounts looking for personal information. They use their information to open fraudulent accounts or attain pieces of ID such as a driver’s license. With a child’s information, they often can impersonate them for years without being detected. According to a study by CyLab at Carnegie Mellon, identity theft is 51 times more likely with children than adults.
Recently, CSID conducted a survey to find out what parents know about child identity theft. The survey found that most parents do talk to their kids about sharing information online and, like me, they do so because of concern about their child sharing information online with strangers. Only 18% of parents were concerned with identity theft, however, and although concerned, most (52%) are not taking action to protect their children’s information. The survey found that when parents are aware of the issue they want to take action, but don’t know what to do or where to begin.