This is a fantastic sponsored guest post, that is very timely for me, having had a few issues in the last month. Some great advice, thank you.
Now a cornerstone of staying connected with friends and family for many people, social media’s increasing popularity has unfortunately also increased the risks of being targeted by cybercriminals.
A 2012 survey by not-for-profit organisation Get Safe Online revealed that a fifth of people have had their social media accounts hacked. Perhaps more worryingly, the survey also found that one in ten respondents didn’t know they could change their security settings to help ensure this didn’t happen to them.
This simple step, plus a number of social media safety tips, could help you avoid becoming a victim of the growing number of social media hackers, virus writers, identity fraudsters and trolls.
Put your privacy settings in place
Because a main driver of social media networking sites is to provide access to you, their default when it comes to privacy settings is to leave all information open to the public. It’s up to you to put these in place if you want to limit the information you share.
Privacy settings vary from site to site. For example, Twitter only has one option – selecting Tweet Privacy within the Settings page so that only people you approve can see your tweets. When it comes to Facebook and LinkedIn, the process becomes more complicated but that’s also because they allow for different privacy levels for friends, friends of friends, third parties and the general public.
Through privacy settings you can control who can read your profile and see your posts/pictures/activity, as well as limit the information shared with external sites and applications.
You can also control what your friends can share about you – an important point, because you and your friends revealing too much personal information is actually the biggest threat to your security on social media networking sites.
Don’t share too much
The more personal information you post, the easier it could be for a hacker to use this information to access your data, stalk you or even commit identity fraud.
Go direct to social media sites
You should avoid linking to social media sites through emails or other websites, as this could lead you to a fake site where entering your account name and password will give cybercriminals open access to your data.
Instead, type the web address directly into your browser or use your own personal bookmark.
It might seem a pain, but you should use a different password for every social media networking site you use. This way, the hacking of one account doesn’t automatically mean that every one you have will be compromised.
And as you’ve no doubt heard a million times before, make your password as strong as possible by combining capital and lower case letters with numbers and symbols. You should also regularly change your passwords for additional security.
Look out for links
Links in emails, tweets and posts are one way that cybercriminals can access your computer. If a link looks a bit suspicious, your best bet is to delete it immediately, even if it’s from a friend. It could be that their account has been hacked and you’re being targeted too.
Be careful with application access
A lot of the social media networking sites enable you to download third-party applications to play games, take part in polls/quizzes and do more with your personal page. However, cybercriminals sometimes use these applications to steal your personal information. So, where you can, control what information these applications can access about you.
Start with a safe computer
Having the latest security software is one of the best defences against viruses from hackers and other online threats, so make sure your anti-virus software is up to date. You can also run a free virus scan to ensure that your computer is clean and free of viruses and malicious software.
Through these simple steps and sensible online behaviour, you can more safely enjoy all the benefits social media has to offer.
Great advice, indeed, thank you for reading