This is an article from guest contributor Stanley Aguzie of InLinx giving advice on keeping your social media secure
Good morning my friends…Today’s topic (or lesson) caters to our personal and social life on social media websites…Privacy and security – a topic that is currently gathering a lot of heat right now!
Have you ever wondered as social media users, that who, besides your friends and family, might be viewing your funny selfies or ‘mugshots’ of pictures that you were tagged in on Facebook? Or who knows about your potential travel plans this month?
As much as we all know that social media websites are great at helping people stay connected, they aren’t so great at keeping your online information and your posts completely secure from identity thieves, cybercriminals, cyber-stalkers, and the worst of all stalkers…Employers! Just kidding…Or am I?
Well it’s quite clear that employers are not the worst kind of stalkers to have, but if you’re not careful, your boss, work colleagues, or hiring managers might be able to see your most innocuous posts or photos, all because you didn’t switch your privacy setting to ‘private’.
The issue is this – if you’re posting drunken photos of yourself from a party you went to or uploading private information that you don’t want any of your ‘non-friends’ to see, you need to learn a few social media tricks to keep your online activity and accounts secure from online leeches.
I know each social media channel is different, but its up to you my fellow online friends to learn how to use them and become truly incognito on social media…
Lucky for you guys, I have some of my own tricks and tips on how to stay safe online.
Here’s 5 tips to helping you stay safer online:
1. Remember losing or forgetting your password?
We all know how much of a pain it can be to memorize all our different passwords assigned to our social media accounts! There easy to forget, trust me I know. I have more than 50 passwords logins and counting. Creating and remembering passwords are a challenge; but fear not: there are solutions to keeping you both secure online and sane. Safety first, and as tempting as it can be, try not to use mothers maiden name, your date of birth, or sequential numbers like “1234”.
I know I’ve made that mistake several times, but now I try to store all my passwords as soon as I create them. I don’t mean storing it on a spreadsheet on your computer, that’s the first-place hackers will look, especially if you have named your document “Social Media Passwords and Secret Questions.” Try storing your password on a passwords manager application that encrypts your passwords so that only you have access to them. You can even enable 2FA for all your accounts, like I have, and prevent all unauthorised parties from accessing your accounts
2. Who are you? Time to use the block/decline request button
You don’t know how many time I’ve often received requests from people I don’t know, we all have! Unfortunately, these people aren’t just any ordinary person looking to befriend you, they are spammers trying to send you links so that they can steal information for fraud or identity theft. There are no ways to prevent unfamiliar people from adding you, the simplest method to resolve these unwanted intrusions is to simply ignore it and report it. The social network services will monitor it and, if enough people take the same action, they will remove that account.
3. Adjust your privacy settings people!
Even though this is the most obvious tip, we all tend to forget, especially me, to review a social media networks privacy setting, simply because we often feel that they are sufficient enough to protect us. Ehh…wrong! That’s exactly the reason why we all get unknown people adding us and sending us links to websites which we foolishly click on and then, bam! A file ransomware attacks your computer and it starts taking all your personal information.
Altering one’s privacy account settings can allow you to block strangers from viewing your private information. These settings changes based on which social media website you’re using, but if you delve into the privacy setting of some of the main social media website, you will learn that you can hide your profile from showing up on search engines. Another good idea would be to google yourself and see if you appear on google search.
4. Check your WhatsApp settings…
You may not know this, but WhatsApp automatically checks your contact list and updates your suggested friends/followers on your social media accounts. There have been several occasions where I have been wondering how social media services can instantly match me with some of my friends that I have on my phone. Well, now I know, that if you don’t check your privacy settings on your phone, WhatsApp can import your contact list on social media, and then social media sites like Facebook use this info to make friends suggestions for you and others. If you choose to remove imported contacts, friend’s suggestions may become less relevant. So, keep your mobile app updated people, otherwise Facebook could be watching over you!
5. Don’t overshare
There is something so chummy and special about social media that it fools people into thinking that it’s some sort of stage where they can share or reveal anything about their daily lives, but if you overshare the backlash can be viscous. Sharing information about your current location, your date of birth or your hometown might seem harmless to you and your circle of friends but sharing all this private information makes it easier for others to steal your identity.
Sharing too much information about your location or frequently posting updates about when you’re about to leave home for work or when you’re about to go and ‘make some gains’ at the gym, like I frequently do, can lead to cybercriminals learning about your whereabouts or finding out when you’re not home. Home robberies have happened simply because Facebook users share updates about when they’re not home, but little do they know that these posts can unknowingly leave a trail right back to their doorstep.
So, there you have it, five essential steps you need to take to ensure your privacy and safety when using social network sites. Instead of going through the hassle of having to take some security measures against potential threats online, you could try out inLinx.com, a new social media website, which allows you to take full control of your private information. Click on this link for more information.