In a world increasingly concerned about privacy at a time when Facebook is notoriously breaking down privacy settings, it’s amazing that people are so drawn to social networking sites. Still, social networking seems to be sticking around. After all, social networking is for more than just sharing photos of your Thanksgiving Day turkey and talking about your favorite TV show. While it’s good for those things, if you want to stay connected to your industry and network, social media is a go-to tool for both. The good news, you can stay social while keeping secure.
Your account itself is at risk. You have a trusted network connected on social media. If your account is compromised, hackers could spread malicious messages to your network before you know you’ve been compromised. Friends don’t let friends spew spam, and if someone gets a suspicious link from your account, they’ll probably alert you about it, but that won’t stop others from clicking it.
- Use phrases that include short codes or acronyms
- Use at least 8 characters
- Use a mix of characters
- Change your password regularly
Avoid the “overshare”
When creating your account profile, keep in mind what identity thieves are hoping you’ll share:
- Full name
- Birth date
- Where you were born
- Home address
- Phone number
- Email address
You can use your real name, but don’t give up all your information, especially information that will help hackers guess answers to security or password reminder questions.
Don’t share your credit card information on social media sites. This one seems like it would go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how often it actually happens.
No matter where your privacy settings are, consider everything you share on social media to be public information.
If you’re concerned about identity theft, signing into and then out of social networking sites each time is a good habit to get into. Computers saving your login information is convenient, but it also makes it that much easier for someone to sit down at your machine and take over your account.
Keep an eye on what apps you’ve allowed access to your account. If you no longer use those apps, remove them. Third-party apps may add functionality to your networking site, but they also add risk. Even if the app is not malicious, it could be collecting information about you.
One app you may consider using is one that can wipe your device remotely if it’s lost or stolen.
Check security settings
Pay attention to changes in privacy policies and check your settings regularly to be sure they’re where you want them. Social media privacy policies are changing all the time. Be sure you know what you are agreeing to and that you’re comfortable with the terms.
Keeping up on your social networking and staying secure is possibly, it just takes some diligence and mindfulness on the user’s part. Don’t let security concerns keep you from interacting with your colleagues, friends and family online, but do be safe about it.