What could be more natural than wanting to share the details of your child’s birthday party with your friends and family on Facebook? Or geo-tagging your location on Instagram so your friends know where you are?
The trouble is, there’s a darker side to sharing private information on social channels. The risk of identity theft and cyber abuse increases as people over-expose themselves on social media, and that’s a threat that Hueya, a cyber security company based in Bend, takes very seriously.
I recently spoke to Hueya founder and CEO Lewis Howell to learn more about cyber abuse, the risk of over-sharing private information on social media and the pleasures of building a startup in Bend
First, about the name. Hueya is pronounced HOO-ya, and Howell says it’s derived from the Spanish word for footprint, “huella.”
“The company’s original name was Digital Footprint, but Hueya gets the same concept across and it’s more interesting and international,” he said.
Howell spent some 20 years in corporate security and information technology before moving to Bend and establishing Hueya.
On one level, Hueya is like a credit reporting agency for a person’s online privacy: Clients link Hueya to their social channels and complex algorithms analyze their social media history and behaviors, including how much personal information clients share online and with whom.
Hueya then presents clients with a Hueya Exposure Score that details what information is available about them online. Next, it offers to help protect client’s identity by providing remediation suggestions to tune their digital footprint and limit the possibility of cyber abuse.
“While it can be fun and fulfilling to share information online, there’s definitely a flip side to over-sharing on the Internet,” he said. “All of your digital footprints begin to add up, creating a picture of you and your family.”
For example, a proud parent might post stories to Facebook about a child’s birthday party. This seemingly harmless post may contain the child’s name, birthdate, location, and relationship to other people. Other posts might include information about this person’s job, when he or she leaves the house for work, and where and when they vacation.