Social networking services have become an integral part of modern people’s life. Lots of users cannot imagine spending a day without posting a photo, liking a friend’s post, or creating an event on their Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, or Twitter. Recent research shows that an average office employee spends almost five hours per week on social media during office hours. College students, in their turn, also spend an immense amount of their time posting photos and sharing ideas on their favorite social networks.
We can’t deny the fact that we often share out intimate thoughts, plans, phone numbers, and even more personal information with both friends and strangers on social media platforms, clueless of possible consequences of our openness. Though social networks are a great way to keep in touch with our relatives and friends, they may pose a danger to our private life. Therefore, we should take care not to disclose much personal information to minimize the risk of experiencing a personal data breach. Below are some recommendations that can help you safely enjoy a social life.
Safety Tips for Social media users
Never Ignore Privacy Settings
Every reputable social networking site allows you to incorporate changes in Privacy Settings which, by the way, exist for reason. Unfortunately, living in an information society takes its toll on us. Nowadays, we don’t cherish privacy and confidentiality as much as we used to. We tend to trust social networks and often share personal information indiscriminately.
Also, Read: How Can Hackers Hack Social Media Accounts?
We also consider tinkering with privacy and security settings a waste of time and often find ourselves in predicament due to such carelessness. But remember – the onus is on you to learn more about privacy security settings and use them on your favorite social media sites.
These settings can help you safeguard yourself from cyber criminals eager to harvest your personal information and use it for their personal gain. By enabling specific privacy settings, you can allow or, to the contrary, prevent other users from viewing your posts, photos, and whatever appears in your timeline.
Don’t Disclose Personal Information and Avoid Oversharing
There’s information you shouldn’t disclose under any circumstances. Your mom’s maiden name or the name of your favorite dog, which are the most popular security questions, should be kept secret. Even if your old friend asks for sharing information you regard too personal it would be a wise decision to refrain from sharing such details. It’s not a secret that online scammers often hack users’ accounts and communicate with their friends on their behalf.
So, never answer suspicious questions asked via social networks. If you suspect that the account of your friend has been hacked, avail yourself of some other means of communication to reach this friend and share your concerns.
Though it may seem overcautious, we recommend that you don’t disclose your birthdate on a social networking site. Of course, it’s always pleasant to receive greetings from friends, relatives, and former colleagues. Still, you should be aware that knowing your birth date may be enough for experienced hackers to gain access to your credit card, bank account, or virtual currency wallet. Do you still think birthday greetings are worth it?
Furthermore, make it a rule not to share your travel plans on Facebook or any other social networking site. You may also want not to share your vacation snapshots while you’re away from home. The truth is burglars often search for vacant homes to rob on social networking sites. So, make sure not to invite trouble.
Be Selective About Friends
We live in the digital age where lots of people prove their popularity with likes. They rejoice in every like they get for a photo or a post and accept hordes of people as their friends on a daily basis. Identity thieves often take advantage of modern users’ hunger for likes to harvest their personal information. So, take care not to accept every friend’s request indiscriminately.
Connect only with those people whose identity you can verify. As for your current friends, use security settings to manage the information you share with them. Thus, you can allow your trusted friends, the ones you know well and communicate with in real life, to keep abreast of your life and plans and limit access to “less trusted” ones to your personal information.
Create a Strong Password
When it comes to creating a password for social media sites, many users opt for combinations of characters that are easy to remember. They include their birthdate, age, or phone number as a part of their password or just enter numbers in ascending or descending order. Still, simplicity is not the criterion to consider when protecting your privacy online. It’s a good rule of thumb to come up with a sentence as a password that should include at least ten characters. Moreover, don’t forget to create a unique password for each new account. Thus, if someone breaks into one of your social media accounts, the rest will remain safe and intact.
Following the aforementioned simple rules will help you protect your privacy online and safeguard yourself from cybercriminals hunting for your personal data.