username to postcode in 24 minutes

Do you know how much of your information is available online? More importantly, what easy steps can you take to protect yourself?

Published by Andrew Stark on Mar 18, 2021

Do you know how long it would take someone to get your postcode? We came across the introduction below on an online forum, an introduction that most of us would look at and not see any problem or concern.

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It took our team, who have neither the access nor the advanced hacking skills that professional hackers have, to get this person’s postcode, latest travel movements, and a potential email address.

How did we get to the postcode? Most people use the same username for all of their social media so it was easy to do a quick Google search which led us to a Twitter profile, a TripAdvisor profile, a Facebook profile and a comment on Twitter gave us the person’s last name and region in the UK. Facebook gave us the fact the person volunteers with a religious organisation in their local village. The organisation has their postcode on their Facebook page and from there we head over to the local council website to access the electoral register and eventually a home address.

We know that they enjoy travelling through Spain and Portugal and were there as recently as 2019.

We even have a potential email address for the person through a posting requesting information about a relative.

All in the space of 24 minutes and using only Google.

## We’re not saying don’t go online, we’re saying be careful with the information you put online and protect yourself.

### Social Media
– profiles can be set to private so that only people you know can view your profile
– don’t use your last name in your profile
– use a secure password, with a password manager

### Forums / Listings
– Check that the forum is private and that only registered users have access to the posts
– Go through the privacy settings, set your location to be a region; don’t share your last name

## Other
– Don’t use your home address on Companies House
– Ask to be removed from the open electoral register
– Keep your passwords secure – use a password manager

Most of all stay safe!