Tips For Safe Social Media Use

The Tip
Many of us use social media tools like Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat every day. Given the popularity of these tools, the landscape has become ripe ground for cyber criminals and fraudsters. Using these tools safely isn’t really complicated, and in many ways, the following list is just a summary of several of the topics we’ve already talked about in Cybersecurity.

The Detail

The following are good general guidelines for safer use of any social media tool, and the internet in general.

  • Make use of the site’s or tool’s privacy settings, read the policies and revisit the privacy settings from time to time
  • Don’t overshare. In general don’t share personal details such as phone numbers and home address, don’t share holiday plans and photos, at least not until you’re back. Criminals scour social networks looking for empty homes to burgle.
  • Don’t accept every friend and follower request you get without taking a few minutes to verify that it’s real. Criminals use these fake accounts to harvest personal information from others. It’s estimated that 25% or more of all social media accounts are fake.
  • Be wary of links. Just like phishing emails, you can’t trust all the links you see on social media sites.
  • Be careful if linking accounts. Many sites make it easy to login with your Facebook account or Google account, by linking these together. By doing this, you are creating one easy entry point to all your social media spaces. That can be hugely convenient but if that one account is compromised they are all compromised. If you are comfortable using this approach, be sure that you are following best security practices with that base/master account.
  • Use separate email accounts for registering with different social media networks. By doing that, your main email account is protected from spam or phishing you may receive via a compromised social media site.
  • Use strong and unique passwords. We cannot emphasize the importance of this enough. Use a separate and strong password for every account you have, social media or not.

Here is some additional very good reading for Facebook users;

How to Find Out Everything Facebook Knows About You
Did you know that you can easily download and see all the information Facebook has collected from you over the years in just a few minutes?

How to Protect Your Facebook Data
Understanding and keeping up to date with Facebook’s privacy and security settings is a regular challenge.

Become your own human firewall and develop your home-grown culture of security 🙂

If you have more questions about these topics, please contact UTS and we’d be happy to offer what guidance we can. There is also a wealth of information to be found using your favourite search engine.