Tech Lessons From a Robin: Danger Can Be Difficult to See Online

There’s a robin living outside my office window that won’t stop flying into the glass.

Every few hours, I’ll hear a “plink,” look up from my computer and there he is again. It’s like he’s filming for a Windex commercial, except I doubt his wages are worth the damage he’s inflicting upon himself.

Watching this happen over and over again, I was struck by the parallel between this robin’s inability to remember his earlier mistakes and what I perceive happening in the cyber security industry.

The “Invisible Window” Online

Technology can promise great things and be a wonderful window to another world full of ease and efficiencies, but if people aren’t paying attention, they could fly straight into a damaging situation, over and over again.

Take social media platforms, for example. A friend of mine used social media for connecting with old friends and out-of-town family members. They wished her happy greetings, showed pictures of grandchildren and how great life their lives were.

On her birthday, she took a picture of her presents and posted it, mentioning how blessed she was. She did not realize in her haste that she had posted a picture with a reflection of her Visa Gift Card in a mirror. It didn’t take but five minutes for someone to point it out to her, and she took the picture down. In that short amount of time, however, someone had copied the picture, enhanced it a bit, recorded the gift card number and security code off the reflection of the mirror and drained the card’s value.

There is never a more volatile time to keep tabs on your personal information than now.

Learning To Avoid Dangerous Digital Situations

Now, this only happened once to my friend and I’m sure many of us may have made a similar mistake. But as technology evolves, these harmful situations become harder to predict and prevent. And just like the robin outside my office window, we will fly into the same barrier because we couldn’t see the glass.

Posting about going on vacation is another example of vulnerable information on social media. It is advertising that you will be out of your home, city, state, or the country for any number of days. Why give someone with nefarious intentions a two-week window to plan a heist?

Technology isn’t just a method that criminals use, but an indicator. For example, the week between Christmas and New Year’s are ripe for home robberies. Criminals only need to drive down the street and write down addresses: the addresses with the big 65” LED television box that’s sitting out by the trash along with 2 new MacBook Pro Boxes. All they need to do is wait for the people to leave so they can break in and steal everything they want.

The bird flying into the window time and time again is a classic example of not learning. It sees the outside world in windows and doesn’t realize that it’s looking at a reflection. To save you a headache, if you make a mistake and bump into something, learn from it. Take extra care to see the reflections in the glass.

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