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NAIT Cyber Security Chair urges people to read the fine print

By Omran Wahidy on April 27, 2023

Social media is now a prominent part of everyday life, and there is no end to the growth of apps such as TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. But how secure are these apps? When it comes to cyber security, many of these apps have been under scrutiny for personal information leaks. With the government of Canada already banning TikTok from government-issued devices, the general public is questioning the safety of their information.

Are we too trusting of social media?

Is it possible that the general public has become too trusting of social media apps? “In a way, we really have become too trusting of them. We think, oh, well, it’s only my phone. Big deal. Or yeah, what are they going to do if they’re going to get my username and my email? So what, what are they going to do with that? Well, that’s the start,” said John Zabiuk, Chair of Cyber Security programs at NAIT.

John Zabiuk, Chair of Cyber Security Programs at NAIT

Reading the fine print becomes essential to understanding what app developers can and can’t do with your information. “If they need access to other things on your device, like your camera, your microphone. Now the app has access to that as well. How that data is used, you have to really read the fine print of that user agreement in the end.”

What can you do?

Social media is most prominent for the younger generation, but the fine print goes over most people’s heads. Yet, it remains the key to the company’s access. “The only things you have to really be aware of upfront is read those agreements and make sure you’re comfortable with it when you click that I agree. The other thing is to research the company a little bit as well.”

“Do a bit of digging on Google. It doesn’t take long to just put a company name in Google or an application name and Google and look for security vulnerabilities.”

“So really what it comes down to is do we trust the company that’s getting that information.”

Trust has been given loosely, but John chooses to limit his social media presence.

“Yes, I do have a social media presence. It’s very limited in what I put on it and nothing controversial and nothing personal. You can do a search on me right now in Google. You’ll find lots of information about me and my career, but nothing personal.”

As time goes on questions of security will only grow. What is certain is that the general public does have control of their information. The answer lies within the fine print.



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