Tip of the month November 2016 – Staying Safe on Social Network Sites

Do you use Facebook or LinkedIn? Lear how to protect yourself.

What are social network sites?

A social networking website is an online platform that allows users to create a public profile and interact with other users on the website. Some well-known social network sites are Facebook, Instagram, twitter, LinkedIn etc.

Some of the features of social networking sites allow you to provide information about yourself or other personal data. On some sites you can browse for people based on certain criteria like age, location and gender. Also usually offer some type of communication like email or chatting.

What security effects do these sites present?

Social networking sites rely on connections and communications so they encourage you to provide a certain amount of personal information. When deciding how much information to reveal people may not enter the same information as they would, when meeting someone in person.

The majority of people using these sites are not dangerous but other people since they have the ability to fake their personal information to pretend or duplicate profiles for harming people. The more information you entered about you the easier it is for them to take advantage of you. That could lead to dangerous circumstances. The personal information can also be used to use a social engineering attack. Using information that you provide about your location, hobbies, interests, and friends an attacker could take an advantage for this information to access other personal or financial information.

Additionally attackers may use them to distribute malicious software to still your information or install a virus

How can you protect yourself?

  • Use strong passwords - Protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed using long names with capital letter, numbers and symbols.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you post  - Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your address or information about your schedule or routine
  • Remember that the Internet is a public resource and be suspicious of stranger.
  • Don't believe everything you read online. People may post false or misleading information about various topics, including their own identities.
  • Evaluate your settings and take advantage of a site's privacy settings. The default settings for some sites may allow anyone to see your profile, but you can customize your settings to restrict access to only certain people.
  • Check before using third-party applications. Which may provide entertainment or functionality, but use caution when deciding which applications to enable. For example YouTube down loaders or free mp3/pdf converters etc.
  • Check email privacy policies. This may lead to an increase in spam. Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. Some sites will continue to send email messages to anyone you refer until they join monthly weekly or even daily.
  • Keep software and your web browser up to date. Many operating systems offer automatic updates. And if a browser asks for the new version updates don’t skip it. You can check if you are using the latest version here by comparing the versions online.
  • Use anti-virus software

Children are especially vulnerable to threats from social networking sites. Although many of these sites have age restrictions, children may use fake ages so that they can join. By teaching children about Internet safety and guiding them to appropriate sites, parents can make sure that the children become safe and responsible users.

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