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10 tips for improving social media security

July 24, 2012

 

10 tips for improving social media security

 

Social networking shifted from casual use (a few times a week) to an absolute phenomenon used by all ages, every day of the week. Because of this, new devices have been adjusted in order to access these networks. Things like cell phones, computers, and now tablets. These social networks have become so much a part of people’s daily lives; it opened a gateway of first-hand contact from business to customer. The problem with that, is that more and more personal information is available to the public. And, along with that comes risk. There is a risk for both the customer and the business. Social networks transmit massive amounts of data; incoming and outgoing. Most of the sensitive data is exposed by accident, not by hackers or scammers. If you are a business owner who has finally realized the opportunities within Social Media, you should know how to keep your information safe and secure. Here are a few tips:

Password

Create a strong password that is a different password than the one(s) you use for personal or business use. Make sure that you don’t use anything that is publically accessible. For example, your birthday, phone number, city, high school, etc. Many password recoveries are accessible by entering in this information.

A few suggestions for some strong passwords could be your mother’s maiden name and her phone number (smith343-6066). Include the dash line if possible.

Change all your passwords frequently

Once every 60-90 days. I know this can be a big pain, but it is an important part of keeping your privacy. When hackers scan for your passwords, they reveal it digit by digit. This method takes some time to acquire your password. So, if you change your password every 90 days, by the time the acquire your entire password you have already change it to something else.

Differentiate your passwords

Have a slight difference in your password for each social network you manage. It could be as simple as a “1”. For example, if your password for Facebook is smith343-6066 then your Twitter password should be smith343-60661. This is so that if a hacker does manage to access your password, they will not have instant access to all of your networks and accounts.

Avoid unknown friend requests.

When you receive a “friend request” or something of the sorts, make sure that you know them. Even more than that, make sure that you are not already friends with them! Facebook and other networks allow users to make profiles with the same name (obviously with more than 600 million users there are bound to be users with the same name). Many times, “phishing schemes” are developed from hackers making face profiles, with identical information and even pictures! Do not accept unknown friend requests. Unless you know someone well enough you should not trust them with your personal information.

Remember to logoff when you are done.

This is especially crucial if you share your computer with anyone, or if you use public computers. When the browser asks you if you want it to remember your password, be sure to click NO. Others (including friends and family) using your computer may unintentionally and unknowingly let hackers in.

Identity Theft:

Not to sound completely paranoid, but it is a good idea to avoid posting too much information about your children or spouse. You may not know that you are posting sensitive information. For example, let’s say you post a picture of your child in front of their high school. Many networks and accounts ask you to fill out security questions in case you forget your password. Many times, they ask you the name of your high school or home town. If the person filling out these questions doesn’t know that information is available they are exposed for attacks. Someone else could see which high school they are from, and request a password change or reset. The account or network would ask them the secutity question “what high school did you go to”. Now, they have reset your password or created one that only the hacker knows. Again, not to sound paranoid, but it’s good to be cautious.

Avoid suspicious links even if it is from friends and family:

Email is a prime target for hackers and scammers. Someone you know may expose themselves, and their email gets hacked. The hacker or virus will access their address book and send everyone an email with a link. If you click the link, you are exposing yourself to the same risk as the person before you. The message may even try to entice you to click on it. Things like, “Click this for a free Ipad! No joke, this is real!”

Monitor what your friends are sending and sharing with you.

They may have been hacked and a harmless looking link from them without their knowledge could contain malware and be an attempt at phishing.

Facebook allows targeted ad campaigns. This exposes users to spearphishing – defined as phishing against a small group of selected targets who are more likely to be attracted

A site like Facebook allows and encourages users to create their own apps, games and commerce sites that can be used by other members. Such apps could potentially access a lot of your unprotected data. Similarly in recent reports it was stated that Google, Apple and apps on Android, iOS have access to all your data on the smartphone. – http://www.socialmediatoday.com

Avoid harmless posts or tweets like:

“Enjoying the great views from the 25th floor of my hotel room in Hawaii”

“The interview questions today were very unusual. They actually asked…”

“Our company won a bid for a large project, good time buy the stock!”

This could lead to unintentional consequences. The first statement could be a “Welcome home” invite to thieves to burgle your home. The second one could cause a lot of angst for you in your current job. The last one could be seen as potential for insider trading. Identity theft has become easier as one can gather significant personal information about others in these channels. Telling your friends on a social network is not the same as telling your friends in person. These posts and comments are viewable by millions.

Avoid sharing your entire address books with any Social Media site

It could result in spamming others. Wikipedia has defined Social Networking Spam –

Social networking spam is spam directed at users of internet social networking services such as MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn. Users of social networking services can send notes, that may include embedded links to other social network locations or even outside sites, to one another.

Social networking spam is spam directed at users of internet social networking services such as MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn. Users of social networking services can send notes, that may include embedded links to other social network locations or even outside sites, to one another. – http://socialmediatoday.com

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