Why do you need to protect yourself on social media?
How many social media platforms do you use? Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Telegram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, WhatsApp…. the list goes on! Did you know the majority of Americans (84%) use Facebook and YouTube, with younger generations favouring Snapchat and Instagram? 1
Social Media is a part of our daily lives, and unlikely to disappear anytime in the near future. And cyber criminals “think social media is the best thing ever” leveraging our addiction to their advantage. In fact, our use of social media has created new criminals, with the rise in cybercrime jumping exponentially inline with the rise in use of social media. 2
So what is it that attracts criminals to our social media? What do they hope to gain? It’s this very lack of understanding what exactly is at risk that’s resulted in so many of us remaining lax about protecting ourselves on social.
Have you ever downloaded a game on Facebook? You know, the ones that help you discover your Harry Potter Patronus? Or maybe the one that tells you how smart or well read you are?
These games will ask to connect to your friends, and you will post your results on you Facebook feed where more friends will partake in the fun. And you’re more likely to post about it if you got agreeable results, right? There’s a good reason we are all “gifted” and “well read” according to the free Facebook games.
So now you’ve established a network and your network will share and potentially the sharing will spread outwards like a ripple on a lake.
Any hacker that accesses your information has everything at their fingertips – they know what retail outlets you shop at and follow, they will have your entire browsing history, and can possibly access that of your connections. This foot in the door to your life is just the first step towards identity theft.
Your profile information will help these criminals personalize phishing scams. Regardless of your privacy settings, the scammers can access everything you’ve ever written, even if it’s been deleted.
So here are our top tips on how to protect yourself on social media:
1. Remember that everything written on the Internet is permanent, even if deleted. So think twice before posting or commenting, and try to stay clear of social media after a drink!
2. Only accept friends you really know.
3. Be careful about clicking on links – there are many scam sites and any that offer anything for “free” should be totally avoided.
4. Regularly check your privacy settings – Facebook, for instance, constantly alter the privacy perimeters, so that posts meant only for friends will suddenly become visible to everyone.
5. Don’t share personal information such as your address.
6. Post about your holidays after you return, not whilst you are away.
7. Change your password frequently.
8. Shut down old accounts that you don’t use anymore.
9. And our top tip – enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication on any social media accounts that offer this service.
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