Protecting Yourself on Social Networks
Social media platforms offer great ways to socialize and connect with friends with who you share common interests. Also, you can use the platforms to network professionally. However, it is easy to hide one’s identity when using any of these platforms. Hence, it is hard to know one’s real intentions. Therefore, it is crucial to look for ways of protecting yourself on social networks.
Protecting Yourself on Social Networks
Protecting yourself social media network is one way of staying safe online. Examples of social networks include:
For the 21st century, Twitter and Facebook may be the new means of communication. Yet, social networks are more dangerous than picking up the phone to call a friend. So then, it is essential to get informed and take steps to protect yourself from the risks involved.
Ways of Protecting Yourself on Social Networks
Never reveal too much. Often, it is a bad idea to reveal too many personal details on your social media networks. For instance, it is risky to list things such as phone numbers or addresses for all to see. Also, posting your constant whereabouts can be a welcome signal to attackers looking to rob an empty home.
Moreover, personal information like your mother’s maiden name can be necessary for hackers to crack your passwords.
Always set up your privacy. Your privacy settings could go a long way to ensure you get protected. Thus, most social networks have privacy settings, although not by default. So, you need to access the settings and limit those who can access your information. Following that, ensure you lock the privacy settings. The reason being, so only those you trust and know to access your content.
You should also be keen when adding strangers to your social networks. If you lock down your privacy settings, but still add anyone and everyone, you are still at risk.
Also, you should know how phishing scams work. Be careful when giving out your email address, phone number and other personal information online. This is because the information makes you a potential target for phishing scams. Phishing can be done through emails, texts or any other communication with malicious software attachments.
Do not open suspicious messages or emails; hence you shouldn’t reply to them. In addition, do not open the links within the communication and do not provide any personal information.
Why Should You Secure Your Computer?
It is crucial to ensure that your computer has updated anti-virus security. The reason being, many links presented on social media networks can actually be scams. The links might contain malicious software such as viruses. Some links might get presented in status updates or profiles.
Note that outdated operating systems and browsers do little to protect you from dangers. Be keen when handling the links, as they could lead you to spoofed websites. A spoofed website is a fraudulent website made to appear like the original. Yet, in reality, its sole purpose is to get your personal data.
An important step you shouldn’t forget is to log out once you are done. You should log out of any browser you access your sites on. Even if you use your friend’s PC or a public PC at a college, you should specifically log out of the sites. Remember that just closing down the browser isn’t enough. This is because the next person who opens up the browser may find out that they are still logged in as you.
How to Manage Your Passwords When Protecting Yourself
We all have a variety of passwords. Even so, it is crucial to ensure that all your passwords are as different and obscure as possible. A good password should contain symbols, letters and capital letters.
Never share your passwords, and make sure you change them now and again. Your phone should have a password lock. The following are tips for a good password:
It should have at least ten characters
Use a mixture of letters, symbols and numbers
Change your password after six months
You can use apps like Find My iPhone to protect the data on your phone should it be stolen or lost. Also, whenever available, always opt for two-way authentication. For instance, when you need your password and a piece of information that only you know, access a site.
For every login, opt for email notifications. Often check third-party apps to see which one has automatic access to your social network accounts. After that, de-authorize the ones you are no longer using.
How To Manage your Friends and Followers
It would help if you stayed away from the following:
Accounts that have no information
Accounts that have only a few friends
Those accounts that send you messages with no real purpose, particularly in broken English
Accounts that send you links promising things like love and ask for investment.
Above all, you should exercise caution when interacting with people on social networks.
Remember that, once posted, always posted. Hence, protect your reputation on social media networks since what you post online stays online. So then, think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. Studies show that 70% of job recruiters reject candidates based on information they found online.
What Happens if You don’t Protect Yourself on Social Networks?
Gone are the days of fraudulent emails from Nigerian princes promising riches if you hand over your credit card. Today, phishing emails are quite convincing as they get addressed to us with specific personal details. In case you get duped by hackers, and they manage to steal your data, it might end up on the dark web.
For example, after the T-mobile breach, personal data appeared on the dark web. T-mobile said that attackers exposed the personal data of more than 13.1 million current customers. The data included the following:
Social Security Numbers
Dates of birth
The information was then put on the black market for hackers to download for free.
You can’t prevent sites from getting hacked but can limit the damage done by the breach. Google offers a password checkup tool. The tool monitors usernames and passwords people use to sign into sites outside of Google’s domain. It also notifies you if those login credentials get exposed.
The bottom line is, social networks can be relatively safe. However, you have to be mindful of risks and take steps to mitigate them.
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