The internet has gone Live via Video streaming. We’ve all been guilty of using applications like snapchat or Periscope to give our friends and family members a good chuckle. More recently, the social media giant, Facebook launched a dedicated video space via mobile application, that has roughly 1.6 billion users watching and broadcasting everything from a laughing mom in a chewbacca mask to violent crimes and suicides. While these live streaming applications may seem harmless enough, it is important to be aware of the security risks of using video streaming application like Facebook Live.
Young teenagers and tweens are especially vulnerable to cyber predators, online bullies and social engineering scams. Facebook Live features a Map, so the user can track how many people are watching your video stream. However, the user can not see each individual profile… just the number of people watching. This opens up a doorway for online predators to start a dialogue with a minor.
The average teenager or tween, will not bother to change their facebook account settings from the default, which is set to post publicly. This means that anyone can see what your 13 year old is posting on Facebook. This can become especially dangerous and exposes your children to everything from cyber bullies to phishing scammers looking for information that can lead to identity theft or worse.
Parents must be more aware of these live streaming applications because of the risks involved to children. Most of these services are already incorporated into existing products like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, so companies can compete against each other. Teach your children that there is very little privacy attached to these applications and to cautious not to share too much personal information.
Be careful of what is behind and around you, when you stream live: You do not have to give out your name to give away your identity. Filming with a private location in background, such as a bedroom or living room with photos behind you is enough to give away passwords or identity characteristics to an online predator. This is a tool that cyber criminals have used in many social engineering scams.
Security Risks involved with Live Streaming Applications:
When you click that little “I agree to the terms Above” button, you open up your Computer’s UDP ports (or User Datagram Protocol ports). This alternative communications protocol is used to establish low-latency connections between the application and the Internet. In layman’s terms, you open up your computers firewalls to allow the streaming, which can also open your network to malware and other harmful intrusions.
On the other hand, Facebook Live has given law enforcement a great new tool to catch reckless parents and foolish criminals. A 38-year-old Connecticut woman was recently arrested for “risk of injury and impairing the morals of a minor” after posting a Facebook Live video of her 10 year old child driving her Jeep Cherokee around the neighborhood, while sitting in the passenger seat. Illinois Police were able to arrest two Felons for possession of firearms after they broadcast themselves on on Facebook Live illegally using the weapons at a gun range. In fact, more and more police departments are monitoring Facebook Live as part of a daily/weekly routine to apprehend criminals.
Good Practices for Live Streaming:
- Remember that your privacy setting will revert to defaults, each time Facebook redesigns the site or integrates a new change. It’s good practice to visit your account settings at least once a month, to be sure your privacy is protected.
- Keep the “info accessible through your friends” option deactivated to keep control of you own privacy privacy. Note: this was one doorway in to 171 million Facebook profiles, mined for public information and posted on a torrent site by a security expert, because of this default setting.
- Double check privacy settings on all posts prior to making them.
- Assume that comments on other people’s posts are public and that all posts to groups may become public.
- Keep in mind that as Facebook adds features, new privacy concerns will emerge, and relevant permissions will likely become increasingly complex. It’s wise to always read the notifications and updates that come directly from Facebook, to stay up to date on the latest features and security concerns