In one form or another, people are using social media websites to meet, interact and share with people from around the world. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are very popular and are amazing resources for connecting with other people. With great power comes great responsibility, and if not used correctly, these sites and the information you share on them could create some risks for you, your family, friends, and employer.
Here are some of the risks to consider and how to protect yourself when using social media websites:
- Future impacts
There are some organizations that will search social media websites when conducting background checks on potential employees and new student applications. Embarrassing or incriminating photos could prevent you from getting hired or promoted.
- Attacks against You
Cyber Attackers can analyze your posts and use them to gain access to your information. They can use the information you share to guess the answers to the secret questions that reset your online passwords, create targeted e-mail attacks against you (spearfishing), or call someone in your organization pretending to be you. They can even use this information to identify where you work or live.
The best protection when using social media is to be aware of the information you post. Social media is exactly that, social, but to someone seeking information about you, it can be a treasure-trove. Privacy settings do provide a level of protection, but they vary from site to site and change frequently.
Protect each of your accounts with a strong unique password and do not share them with anyone else.
- Privacy settings
Make sure you use the privacy settings offered by the Social Media website and make sure you review and test those settings regularly.
Most social media websites use encryption called HTTPS to secure your online connections. Check to make sure your account settings are enable to use HTTPS by default.
Be suspicious of e-mails that claim to come from social media sites. These can easily be spoofed attacks sent by cyber criminals.
- Mobile Apps
If your social media website has a mobile app, make sure you download these apps from a trusted site and that your smartphone is protected with a strong password.
Protecting data and information is everyone’s responsibility.
Posting on Social Media
When it comes to Social Media, people have a tendency to overshare their lives by posting pictures, videos, and current locations. Sharing too much information can create malicious opportunities for criminals and cyber attackers.
Criminals can monitor your social media activity and plan their illegal activity when they know you are not home. They know this because you posted you were going to be out of town for a week and just now posted a selfie that confirmed you are not at home.
Cyber attackers can use this information to target you and create custom attacks against you or your organization. Social engineering and phishing attacks are some of the tools they can use based off the information you readily shared.
Ask yourself, “does everybody really need to see this?”
Think about the information before you post it.