CT professor explains how to protect yourself after theft of pho - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT professor explains how to protect yourself after theft of photo

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A Milford mom claimed her family's picture was stolen online and later used in a false news article, tarnishing her reputation. (WFSB) A Milford mom claimed her family's picture was stolen online and later used in a false news article, tarnishing her reputation. (WFSB)
MILFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A Connecticut mother was the victim of an internet hoax that went viral, and her humiliating experience has many people afraid that something like this could happen to them.  

A family photo of Milford resident Karena Bennett was stolen from a local newspaper and paired with headlines claiming she had 14 children with 14 different men.

"And to know someone stole my family's first photo and put something like that on it,” Bennett said. “It disgusts me."

Eyewitness News sat down with Brian Kelly, who is the chief information security officer for Quinnipiac University, on how you can protect yourself.

Kelly said what happened to Bennett, actually happens more than you think.

"It's very common,” Kelly said. “And anytime you put anything on the Internet it's forever and it can last long beyond the intended use."

Kelly advocates people check the settings on their social media pages and mark them as private. He said another option is to watermark your photos if the site allows it.

"It's probably not cool and it wouldn't look great on your profile,” Kelly said. “But to have a digital watermark would be important to keep the intellectual property rights of your own photo."

But even the most diligent users run the risk of having their photo stolen since a lot of social media sites require your profile picture to be public.

In terms of legal recourse for Bennett, Kelly said when it comes to the internet it can be very difficult to track who stole the photo and who's using it.

"I think that's the scary reality we live in that through no fault of our own we can become victims,” Kelly said.

Bennett told Eyewitness News on Monday that she's still looking for an attorney to handle her case.

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