Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Don’t assume tight privacy settings online are protecting your reputation. A simple Google search may reveal more details about your life than you think.
Francis, who’s a grad student, is careful about what he puts online. He likes to keep his personal life private.
“I don’t think you’ll find anything too incriminating or anything too violating, but I guess you’ll see. I’m curious,” he said.
Information security engineer Griffin Reid says he found simple information about Francis online, like where he worked, his date of birth, colleges he attended, where he lives and even people he associates with.
Reid connected the dots through search engines, public records and social media – all free sites, open to anyone.
"I'm really surprised that you actually were able to get that,” Francis said. "I always thought that only my friends could see my page."
We found details about his home, income, and voting record. E-Bay showed us Francis likes rock climbing. Facebook shared videos he's recently watched.
"I wasn't on Facebook when I watched that video. I must have been logged into Facebook earlier that day,” Francis said. "The fact that that just shows up, it is just kind of creepy. I don't like people tracking what you do."
We also connected to relatives and found apps his friends use. It seems harmless, but that depends on the motive of the person who finds those details.
"I could send her an e-mail and say I know that you've just recently downloaded this application, please click on this link to update it. As soon as she clicks on the link, the possibilities are endless,” Reid explained.
A hacker could gain access to a computer or smartphone. Once you publicly upload posts, there's no way to control where they end up, and you can't necessarily force websites to remove them.
“It feels like an impossible task to protect your privacy because it feels like you have way too much money and technology going into getting your data,” Francis said.
Remember you can always adjust your privacy setting on Facebook. CLICK HERE to learn more