We keep hearing about “data breaches” and “hacks” from various companies. Even government entities are not immune, as far too many have found out in recent months. But what does that actually mean? As long as your credit card, SSN, or mother’s maiden name isn’t taken, is it really that big a deal? The short answer is yes. It matters more than you know—and not just for you or your group, but for your kids. Over at Patrick Henry Society, I break down the latest data breach, which took place at a popular toymaker.

VTech, a company in Hong Kong, might sound familiar because they sell all manner of electronic toys for kids, some of which allow them to chat with parents via an app on the parents’ phone. Many of these toys require an online account to get updates or more software for the toys, and the company encouraged parents to put a headshot of their child on the child’s profile as an avatar. The problem is that VTech got hacked, and almost 5 million accounts were breached. That includes everything from parents’ home addresses, to their kids’ personal information…and the headshot they put on the site.

Put it all together, and he knows who your child is, where he or she lives (and possibly where else she spends her time), how old she is, what she looks like, and when her birthday is. Since he also has your name and location, it’s a quick OSINT job to find anything he wants.

  • Zillow or Redfin will show him photos of the inside layout of your home.

  • LinkedIn will show your employer, and from there it’s a fairly easy jump, combined with other social media, to figure out the general hours you work—which means the general hours you are not with your child.

  • Facebook will net him just about anything he wants. I tell people all the time: Show me 30 days of an average person’s Facebook page, and I can tell you with a fairly high degree of accuracy where they will be at any  given time. More importantly I can tell you where your kids will be, which is what the predator is interested in too.

  • Instagram and Facebook will give him all kinds of photos of your kids. Next time you are about to post a photo of your precious little angel, think about a predator having it, sending it to his sick friends, or posting it on a website for any other predator to download too. (By the way, if you think that making your timeline set to “Friends” keeps those photos safe, think again. I need to write an article showing you how easy it is to look at anyone’s photos, whether you’re friends with them or not.)

That’s by no means an all-inclusive list. That’s literally 5 minutes of internet surfing. This is yet another reason to protect your information. Whether you’re in a group or not, whether you’re engaged in freedom fighting or not, none of that matters. Protect yourself, protect your kids. This weekend we can show you how.

Clef two-factor authentication