Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social networks have become an integral part of online lives. Social networks are a great way to stay connected with others, but you should be wary about how much personal information you post.
Use a secure password: Passwords that are easy to decipher are a security risk. Not only your social media profile, but all of your online accounts. Passwords like ‘12345’ and ‘password’ are some of the most commonly used, and therefore insecure.
- Passwords should be unique and updated frequently.
- Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
- At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
Privacy and security settings exist for a reason:
- Learn about and use the privacy and security settings on social networks. They are there to help you control who sees what you post and manage your online experience in a positive way.
Protect Your Privacy :
- Set your accounts to private. This will prevent people you are not friends with from viewing too much information on your account.
- If using Facebook from your smart phone, turn off location settings for social media apps and photos. This may prevent you from checking in at different locations, but it will also keep people from knowing exactly where you are at any given time.
Be Careful What You Post :
- Avoid posting personal information such as your address and phone number. This info can be used as the building blocks for identity theft. Be wary when posting your current location. Thieves can use location data to determine when you are out of town, putting your home and belongings at risk.
- Keep personal info personal: Be cautious about how much personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit other crimes such as stalking.
Be Wary of Who You Add :
- Do not add strangers on Facebook. While it can be tempting to increase your friend count, you don’t know if this person is real or fake. These accounts could be scammers attempting to gather information to use against you. If you don’t know the person in real-life, delete the request. If you find that you’re receiving a request from someone already on your friends list, ask them offline if this is correct. Scammers will often look to your contact list to create a dummy profile of someone you’re already friends with.
Think Before You Click :
- Before clicking on a link, make sure it’s everything it says it is.
- Hover over links with your mouse to make sure they will direct you where they claim to.
Never share your login information:
- No credible site will log you out of Facebook before providing information. If it does, leave the site immediately, without entering your login info. If you still aren’t sure, a quick skim of the address bar will confirm any suspicions you my have. If it doesn’t say Facebook.com, then it isn’t Facebook.
Protect your reputation on social networks.
- What you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your future employers to see. Recent research found that 70% of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online. Recruiters respond to a strong, positive personal brand online.
Know and manage your friends:
- Social networks can be used for a variety of purposes. Use tools to manage the information you share with friends in different groups or even have multiple online pages.
- If you’re trying to create a public persona as a blogger or expert, create an open profile or a “fan” page that encourages broad participation and limits personal information. Use your personal profile to keep your real friends (the ones you know trust) more synched up with your daily life.
Keep security software current:
- Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- When applicable, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing.