Why social media might be to blame for Kim Kardashian's attack

TV personality Kim Kardashian West was attacked and robbed in Paris. Photo / AP
TV personality Kim Kardashian West was attacked and robbed in Paris. Photo / AP

On her way to a fashion show, selfies of her diamond teeth grillz, or casually Snapchatting with family back home - Kim Kardashian documented her days in Paris in detail on social media until about an hour before she was held at gunpoint and robbed of about $US10 million ($NZ13.87 million) worth of jewellery.

The pre-dawn robbery on Monday highlighted the pitfalls of notoriety built on heavy use of Twitter, Instagram and other social media that has made Kardashian one of the most visible celebrities in the world, security experts say.

Even when she is not appearing on her Keeping Up With the Kardashians reality show, or being trailed by paparazzi, Kardashian shares details of her day with her 84 million Instagram and 48 million Twitter followers.

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That openness might have made her vulnerable to the thieves in Paris who robbed her. "With social media, everyone is posting updates all the time on an almost near real-time basis.

You are essentially sending out a beacon as to your whereabouts," said Brian Calkin, vice-president of operations at the Center for Internet Security. "Kim may even have let people know she was alone at the time this happened," said Calkin, referring to a Snapchat video that was posted by Kardashian, curled up on a couch in a white bathrobe, about an hour before the masked gunmen broke in to her Paris residence.

In the video, Kardashian was clearly wearing the diamond engagement ring given to her by Kanye West in 2013. She had also shown off the ring, valued about $US3 million ($NZ4.16 million), on Instagram a few days before. It was not on her finger when the 35 year-old returned to her apartment in Manhattan on Monday, raising speculation it might have been one of the items among the robbery haul.

A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

Paris police on Monday were hunting for the five robbers and investigating how they found Kardashian in an exclusive private residence. However, security experts have long advised people to limit the amount of information they release on social media. "We have made it very easy for anyone, anywhere, to gather intelligence and follow our every move," said Robert Siciliano, who runs a security firm in Boston. "It is beyond irresponsible. It is just crying out to be robbed."

The biggest danger is geotagging photos or video, or keeping smartphone location data switched on. "Every modern smartphone has full GPS capabilities that can tell you within 100 feet exactly where a person is," Calkin said.

Even when Kardashian doesn't geotag, her social media accounts advertise her movements, if celebrity media hasn't done so already. In Paris, she posted images of herself getting a facial, dressed up for fashion shows, walking on the street and out for a night with her sisters.

"Celebrities want as wide of an audience as they can," Calkin said. "But there are a lot of people out there looking to do malicious things and those are the folks you've got to really look out for."

- AAP

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