Today, networking platforms are an essential tool to connect with the world. They are not only useful for staying in touch with loved ones.
Social media feeds you with the latest news as and when it happens, allows you to become part of the newest trends and fads, and enables you to expand your network across different countries and cultures.
However, despite the many opportunities they present, networking platforms have increasingly come under fire for safety and security threats.
Investment scams, romance fraud, identity theft, extortion, and malware have grown to an epic level on these sites in recent times, making personal safety a top priority for social media users. But what measures should you take to remain safe and avoid trouble?
Here’s what you need to know.
Limit Your Presence
According to studies, the average American has 7.1 social media accounts. But the more online profiles you open, the more opportunities you provide criminals to extract information and target you for scams. Therefore, limiting your presence to a handful of platforms is important.
Besides, it is not humanly possible to manage multiple profiles. Creating tweets, pins, videos, and a variety of content types to suit every social media site you maintain consumes time. So, selecting a few that work best for your needs makes every sense.
Secure Your Accounts
Weak passwords are at the root of data breaches encountered by 30% of individuals. Password security is especially critical for preventing hacking attacks, account takeovers, and impersonations.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Set up a different password for each platform.
- Use a strong password that includes randomly selected letters, numbers, and special characters. Also, use a combination of capital and simple letters.
- Avoid opting for words, number combinations, or phrases that others could guess. Birthdays, phone numbers, and names of loved ones are common passwords prone to hacking.
- Ensure your login credentials include at least eight characters. Shorter ones are easier to crack.
- Never write down passwords or share them with others.
- Use two-factor authentication when it is available.
- Do not save passwords on your phone or browser.
- Only log into an account from a single device at any given moment.
Practice Mindful Sharing
Every piece of information you share on social media could be valuable ammunition for a cybercriminal. For instance, your birthday photos will let them know your date of birth. A selfie you took in front of your home may help them determine where you live.
The pictures you took with your friends will enable them to identify whom you associate with.
Even the general posts you share, like, or comment on will help scammers ascertain your interests and preferences. All these can be useful when targeting you for fraud or some other malicious activity.
So, practice caution when posting on social media or sharing views and opinions. Remember, what you share online may not always stop with the intended recipients. It might be viewed by millions of others.
So, considering the potential repercussions of your social media activities is essential before you publish content.
It is also important to be vigilant when communicating and engaging with strangers on these platforms. For instance, avoid responding to unsolicited messages, especially those that offer too-good-to-be-true deals, rewards, and opportunities.
And more importantly, never share personal information or send money to anyone you meet on social media sites.
Avoid Unwelcome Intrusions
Malicious actors and even regular organizations can adopt various intrusive practices to profit from your activities on networking platforms. Businesses, for example, can track your data and sell them to third parties at a hefty price.
Criminals could steal your personally identifiable information (PII) and commit numerous scams under your identity.
Understanding these risks and taking steps to ward off their threats is imperative to remain safe on social media. Here is what you can do:
- Think twice before you accept invitations from strangers to connect online. This doesn’t mean you need to ignore them altogether. A few verification measures can help you determine the authenticity of these individuals. Start by reviewing their profiles. Check the account history and how frequently they engage on the platform. Look for friends or coworkers you both have in common and reach out to them to ensure they know the relevant person. If the individual who sent the connection request has shared a phone number, run it on PhoneHistory to find more information. Searching them on Google would also help for extra safety.
- Password-protect all the devices you regularly use to access networking sites. Safeguarding them from theft and loss is equally essential.
- Deactivate data collecting, storing, and sharing features under Settings. This will prevent the social media site from tracking your activities without your explicit consent.
- Read the platform’s data protection policies to understand how it treats the information you share on its site.
- Delete cookies and your browsing history regularly.
- Avoid accessing social media on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. These are easy to hack into.
- Install a virtual private network (VPN) to shield your activities from intrusive criminals.
- To avoid malware threats, be cautious of unverified links and attachments shared on networking sites. Setting up anti-virus software on your devices is also necessary for strengthening protection.
Educate Your Loved Ones
Your friends and family also have access to your personal information. So, what they unwittingly share about you can compromise your safety, too.
Remember, digital data is easily sharable, whether it is a photo, video, or a simple comment you make. So, even if you closely guard your network on social media sites, there is no guarantee that what you share will remain within it.
This is why helping those closest to you understand basic data protection measures is critical for ensuring the digital safety of you and your loved ones. Build awareness about possible threats, their grave repercussions, and the simple steps they can take to practice more mindful sharing.
To Wrap Up
Thanks to the increased popularity of networking platforms, scams, extortion, and other criminal activities on them have seen an uptick in recent years. However, minimizing threats is possible with a few deliberate measures.
Limiting your presence, securing your accounts, sharing content mindfully, avoiding intrusive data-collecting practices, and educating your loved ones are critical steps for a safe social media experience.
If you are interested in even more social media-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.