Kim Kardashian’s Robbery Can Teach Us All A Valuable Social Media Lesson

Photo: Dominique Charriau/Getty Images.
News surrounding Kim Kardashian's Paris robbery — during which the celeb was bound and gagged in her hotel room — has transitioned from facts to speculation. How did the robbers know where she was staying, if she was in the room? How did they know what jewelry she had on her? People have looked to Kardashian's Snapchat and Instagram accounts for answers. While no one can say that she is at fault for her own robbery, her posts showed her in the luxury apartment she was renting at Hôtel de Pourtalès in Paris. While Kardashian did not geotag the posts, it wouldn't be difficult for someone to locate her, given the real-time nature of the apps and the apartment's recognizable windows, Gizmodo points out. All this got us wondering: Could what you post on Instagram or Snapchat put you in danger? The short answer is yes, there's some risk involved any time you even take a photo of something. If a hacker gains access to your phone, that person can easily find out the location of a photo in your camera roll from your Android or iPhone's automatic location tagging (if your location services are turned on), says George Waller, the executive vice president of StrikeForce, a cybersecurity company. However, Snapchat and Instagram, despite Kardashian's beliefs, do not share your location. "Instagram scrubs the geolocation data from the images themselves, so even if someone pulled the images down from Instagram’s servers, they would contain no geolocation data," says Satnam Narang, senior security response manager at Norton by Symantec. Unless you use a geofilter on Snapchat, tag your location on Instagram, or post images with a recognizable landmark, it's unlikely that someone will figure out where the picture was taken. Then there's also what you share. "Cybercriminals are typically financially motivated, so consider what information and images you send online,” Waller says. If you're regularly posting photos of expensive jewelry, the gadgets inside your home, and anything else with a high resale value, you could make yourself a target for thieves in real life, too. The first step to protecting yourself is to protect your phone against unwanted intrusions. Make sure you have two-factor identification enabled (for an iPhone, use a Touch ID and six-digit passcode). If you want to go the extra step, Waller recommends installing encryption software. Next, make sure you're taking smart precautions on social media. Narang advises against geotagging photos from personal locations, including your home and office. If you have done so in the past, go back and remove those geotags. And, if you absolutely can't resist showing friends the gorgeous Caribbean resort you're staying at, only geotag the spot when you're about to leave or have already left, Narang says. Also be sure to review your privacy settings in both apps to make sure that you know which information is being shared publicly. While you might not have $10 million in jewelry lying around as Kardashian did, it's still important to be cautious with what you post.

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