This has nothing to do with London property, so if that is all you’re interested in stop reading now.
Well, a few years ago I was talking to the CEO of a private bank who was telling me how he was astonished by the naivety of some of his clients – especially as most of them were highly successful in their fields of expertise.
What surprised him was the number of calls his team received from their clients asking if the information in an unsolicited email was worth acting upon, i.e. what are now known as phishing emails.
How could normally rational people even consider investing in a complete stranger with minimum research? The simple answer is greed and fear of missing out on the next big thing as these emails promised astonishing investment returns…
Now, you may be thinking that you are too smart to fall for this, but the internet is a wonderful yet also dangerous place and you, and maybe more importantly your children, could be inadvertently opening yourselves up to danger.
I was talking to a firm that specialises in online reputation management and security who told me the following: To read the rest of this article click here.
“The mass of information uploaded on the internet every day continues to grow at an increasingly alarming rate. There are four million Facebook likes every minute, three billion snapchats sent, five billion videos watched on YouTube and 25 million photos uploaded on Flickr every day – and that is only the tip of the iceberg. Personal lives online start to be weaved into corporate profiles and the divide between both private and public has started to blur.
Therefore, it is not a surprise that Google and the internet has become the first port of call for business partners, prospective investors, colleagues, recruiters, admissions officers and interested parties for information.
In fact, recruiters will check applicants’ social media feeds before deciding whether to interview them. Research shows that 57% of employers are less likely to interview a candidate if they cannot find them online, 54% have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles, 50% check current employees’ social media profiles and over 1/3 have reprimanded or fired an employee for inappropriate content.
More importantly, this appears to be a growing trend, with 70% of employers using social media to screen candidates, a figure which has increased by 11% since 2006. Your digital footprint can now have a serious impact on your professional life - but also on your travel visas to the United States - as now social media feeds may be perused for your ESTA applications.
Being aware of your digital footprint can help mitigate reputational risks which may originate online. More importantly, it can also protect you and your business from ill-intentioned actors. Combining basic guess work with information easily harvested from social media is now behind 83% of internet security attacks.
This phenomenon, known as ‘social media engineering’, continues to grow. According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017, the most common breaches or cyber-attacks were via phishing emails - for example coaxing staff into revealing passwords or financial information, or opening dangerous attachments - followed by viruses and malware, such as people impersonating the organisation online and ransomware.
The tactic is very simple, use any personal information gleaned from your social media presence to guess your email password, send you a perfect phishing email or impersonate you online. To note, the average cost to large businesses of all breaches over the period of 2017 have been £20,000 and, in some cases, reached millions!”
Serena and I have both received emails claiming that someone has our passwords. And the passwords they sent us to prove their point were accurate two years ago – it’s quite frightening to think that they must have got these either through a breach or by somehow guessing them through our online presence.
Firstly, this shows the need to change passwords regularly which is a massive bore but has to be done.
Secondly, it has massive repercussions for one’s personal safety. Another security firm I recommend to clients were telling me how the information on the net can be used by immoral individuals to position themselves into your lives in a seemingly innocent way, e.g. posing as a gardener or window cleaner from where they can cause untold damage.
This is why the firm recommends carrying out background checks on all their clients’ personal staff. What they uncover is sometimes truly shocking.
Neither firm I mention above suggested that one shouldn’t have a digital footprint. You might, however, want to be wary of what you reveal.
It’s fascinating stuff and if you would like to discover more about this and how you can protect yourself, please email [email protected].
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Who am I and why should you listen to me?
My name is Jeremy McGivern. I am the founder of Mercury Homesearch, the internationally renowned property search consultancy, and author of The Insider’s Guide To Acquiring Luxury Property in Prime Central London. I have been acquiring property in prime central London for clients for over 13 years.
Having physically viewed over 22,000 properties in prime central London, studied the details of over 153,400 apartments, houses and investment opportunities and spoken to 232+ estate agents every week for over a decade, my advice is in high demand and has featured everywhere from Bloomberg Television, The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph to Forbes India and Bahrain Confidential.
Please note that the strategies and techniques revealed in the book and CD’s are not just theory. They have been tested and proven over 13 years of acquiring hundreds of millions of pounds worth of prime London
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