Social Media Safety Do‘s and Don’ts

Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more are taking the world by storm. 74% of all adults that use the internet use social media, and the number is even higher with teens under 18. To make sure you’re safe on these sites, here are a few do’s and don’ts of social media to keep your information safe!

Do...

  • …create a strong password you can remember.
  • …always set your privacy settings! Avoid having a lot of information public. Make sure only your friends and family can see what you put online!
  • …organize your friend lists if the site will let you; from a security standpoint it make senses to separate “best friends” from “girl I met at the coffee shop yesterday.”
  • ALWAYS verify friend/follower requests; don’t accept everyone! Most scams start by someone lying their way onto your friends list. KNOW who you’re sharing your information with!
  • double check every link, attachment, download, email, or anything else sent to you. Even your best friend could’ve had their account hacked into so make sure it really is them if the message seems suspicious.
  • …check if you play games or other add-ons from third party publishers through social media , check on exactly what information any of them will be privy to. (Does that farming game REALLY need access to your contacts list?)
  • ALWAYS read the security tips and instructions provided by the specific Social Network itself!
  • …in a professional setting, be mindful of inadvertently letting slip sensitive information that could harm your company or get you fired (new security software, procedures, etc).

Don’t...

  • …tell anyone your password; not even a friend.
  • …use the same password for every site. If a leak at Facebook or Twitter allows your password to become public, you don’t want a hacker being able to use that same password to log into your Gmail or Instagram!
  • …ever put in more information about yourself than absolutely need. Hackers, scammers, stalkers all use that information to do anything from guess answers to your security-questions, to impersonating you when trying to scam another user.
  • …forget to be aware of how much live information you’re putting out there. Avoid showing off expensive purchases, telling the world you’re going on vacation, etc.
  • …forget to be aware of auto-geotagging. Some services will automatically tag your status updates with GPS information, such as you posting something while you’re at dinner, and the service can show on a Google Map where you are. If you don’t want everyone to know where you are, make sure your social networking service doesn’t turn on this feature automatically.
  • …upload anything you wouldn’t want everyone to see. It’s a good rule to assume that anything you put up will be revealed to the internet at large at some point, whether through hack, leak, or privacy policy change. Nothing is ever really gone from the internet. Even if you delete a picture from your account, it’s still sitting on Facebook’s server somewhere.

Even still, leaks, hacks, and privacy policy revisions are not unheard of. Don’t assume what you do post IS secure, despite the settings.