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Aliases and usernames have become a big part of our personal online presence, and we often feel tied to them when we register for new sites and services.This can be a great was to build an online identity, but it can also make it trivial to tie our activity on various services together.I highly recommend reading this eye-opening blog on the subject by IOActive.Give some thought to what people can see in your photos’ backgrounds before posting them to your private dating profile.These pieces of information put together say a lot more about your location than they do individually. How much information have you posted on your profile over time as you’ve updated it?How much information are you providing in private conversations with other users?A few years ago, image recognition on a large scale was restricted to law enforcement and corporate security. Free services like Tineye and Google Images will search billions of indexed images on the internet for identical or similar pictures.This isn’t necessarily traditional hash or metadata specific – cropping or resizing an image is not a foolproof way to defeat this (as I show in the screenshot below, where Tineye and Google correctly identified my profile selfie which is substantially cropped on social media).
It has to do with hidden information, or ‘metadata’, which is tacked onto most pictures by phones, photo editing software, and digital cameras.(The use of photo editing tools also becomes blatantly obvious, which can be a cause for some embarrassment.) Ensure you remove identifying metadata from photos before posting them onto your dating profile.If I were forced to pick only one error which causes dating site members the most personal embarrassment over the long term, it’s forgetting this.The number one open source intelligence source that people with evil intent will try to use against you, or to identify you, is your social media profiles.You make a malicious person’s life significantly more difficult by simply locking down your social media profiles so that nobody except people you know personally can view them, or that the data that is publicly visible is not enough to provide the attacker an advantage.
The very simplest, a Google search will often turn up social media profiles, forum posts, and blog comments tied to a particular username.