Have A Secret? Don't Post It On The Internet!

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 21, 2011
Updated • Dec 15, 2014

Here is a rule of thumb that is more important than ever on today's Internet: Do not post anything on the Internet that you do not want others to find out about you.

Do not post it on your public Facebook profile, not on Twitter, do not use real life accounts when you make awkward purchases on the Internet, and do not synchronize data with the cloud that you do not want anyone else to access.

Why? It should be clear that anyone can access public data, including companies, organizations and future employees. If they find something that they do not like, you can be sure that you won't get that job that you wanted so badly. It can also have implications on your private life, bullying in class for instance or a divorce.

Forbes is reporting today that "the Federal Trade Commission gave a stamp of approval to a background check company that screens job applicants based on their Internet photos and postings". The company gets hired to perform background checks by crawling social media sites, networks and other public sites for user information.

But what about data that is secured by an account, like Dropbox for file hosting? Two dangers come to mind: First hacking, which has been happening a lot lately. If hackers manage to break into a site, they can do all kind of things, including accessing your information and maybe even your files.

Second bugs that lead to data being publicly accessible. The latter actually happened yesterday. Dropbox notified their users in a blog post that an update that they applied to their service had the result that for a brief period of time (according to Dropbox, Techcrunch states four hours) account log ins without the correct password were possible. Someone else could have accessed your Dropbox account during that time, which included accessing and downloading files hosted there.

Dropbox in the meantime has emailed all users who might have been affected by this.

If you need to sync or host files online, use encryption if the files are important to you. Check out BoxCryptor, Dropbox Realtime Encryption or SecretSync, Security Layer To Protect Sensitive Files On Dropbox for software reviews that do that automatically.

Closing Words

The majority of Internet users seem to lack an understanding of privacy, considering that many post public information on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, without giving a thought to possible consequences. The information are there for a very long time, which means that employees might base a decision to hire or fire on something that you have posted on Twitter or Facebook several years ago.

Article Name
Have A Secret? Don't Post It On The Internet!
Find out why you may want to keep your secrets on your local computer and not share them publicly or privately on the Internet.

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Adnan said on June 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    very informative post, thanks for sharing it.

  2. Transcontinental said on June 22, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I guess it could be what you *really* wish to keep secret. What I mean is that the border between transparency and privacy is thin, and that a researcher (employer in particular) finding only positive matter concerning an individual could lead him to believe there is a lack of honesty on the part of the concerned person. Don’t be too careful, it could do harm as well. And of course, try to live honestly remains the best way to avoid having to hide whatever.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

      While you and I are aware of the possible consequences, it is my firm believe that the majority of users are rather careless about it.

  3. Jojo said on June 22, 2011 at 7:46 am

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.