People, particularly parents, are well aware of the dangers of social networking in terms of personal attacks but with Social Networking becoming more and more prevalent in both our business and personal lives, its more important than ever to protect yourself against all types of cyber criminals. The following tips are great ways to minimize your risk exposure online:
- Password protection – Use a different password for social networking sites then you do for your email and financial accounts. Also, change your passwords frequently and do not use names or numbers (such as birthdays) within your passwords that are publicly posted on your social networking profiles.
- Following and Friending – Be selective in who you connect to. Connecting with strangers on social networks is absolutely unnecessary in a personal arena but in business making contacts and expanding your referral network is important. Consider only connecting with people you know, friends of friends/colleagues, people who work within your same industry or who share similar hobbies. Anyone can misrepresent themselves online but being selective about who you connect to can help limit the threats to your accounts and personal information.
- Links – Don’t click on suspicious status updates, articles or links. If your Great Uncle who only listens to Frank and the rest of the Rat Pack, starts tweeting about Justin Beiber… he’s probably been hacked, don’t perpetuate the security breach by clicking and risking your accounts as well.
- Oops! I Clicked – If you must (or accidentally) click on your “Great Uncle’s” Justin Beiber tweet and it takes you to another page asking for personal information or passwords, do not provide the information!
- Privacy Settings – Make sure that you set your privacy settings when creating your social networking profiles and update them regularly. Social media sites are constantly adding and changing security and sharing features, checking your settings regularly will allow you to share or hide personal information at a level that is comfortable for you.
- Security Software – Make sure the security software on your computer and handheld devices is up to date.
- Checking In – Publicly posting your location or weekend/vacation plans can open you or your home up to criminal attacks. If you’re going on vacation and you are excited to tell your friends and family all about it, consider waiting until you return from your vacation or limit the people who can see that particular post… otherwise you could arrive home to an empty house. Do you have a “crazy” ex that you want to stay away from? Checking In around town lets them know where you are; if you don’t want people to find you, don’t tell them where you are.