Mentioned together, privacy and social media suggest somewhat of an oxymoron. For the most part, social media is meant to share your life’s highlights. Selfies on Instagram, funny occurrences on Snapchat, and family vacation photos on Facebook all help us connect with the people in our lives. Unless you’re part of the minority that only follow people they have actual personal relationships with, you may be sharing a lot more of yourself than you realize. Keeping your privacy secure on social media is more important now than ever. As the average person spends nearly two full hours a day on social media, the opportunity for hackers to invade is omnipresent. To help keep yourself and your information safe, we’re sharing a few key privacy tips.
You’ve heard it a million times, “don’t use the same password for everything.” Well, there’s a reason this advice is so frequently repeated. Utilizing different passwords for all of your social profiles can make a major difference in keeping your accounts safe. Recommended best practices are to select passwords that are more than six characters long, contain a variety of characters—including numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters—and avoid full words. Common personal information like birth dates, sports teams, pets names and so on are potentially discoverable by cybercriminals and can be used to break into your accounts through social engineering (“5 Tips). This technique of social engineering is used by cybercriminals to uncover whatever information they can from individuals profiles to guess your password. So if you’re going to post frequent Instagrams of your dog, Benny, don’t make your password “Benny1.”
It’s not uncommon to receive a friend request from someone you don’t know personally on social media. Unfortunately, in fear of being rude or in hopes of gaining more followers, many people accept these random requests without considering the potential consequences. Hackers anticipate this sort of behavior and take advantage of your acceptance, in hopes of acquiring personal information. It’s incredibly important to be selective when accepting followers. Ask yourself, do you know this person? Do you have any mutual friends? If not, can you find any of their other social profiles to ensure they’re actually a real person? If you’re answering no to these questions, it’s possible they could be fake accounts from cybercriminals, bots or just general creeps.
As nearly 80 percent of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile, it’s fair to assume most of us are utilizing public WiFi. Though convenient, accessing your social media on open wireless connections can be dangerous. Public locations such as coffee shops and airports make it easy to eavesdrop on internet traffic, opening your device to invasions on passwords and other sensitive data. Should you need to use a public computer or network, always remember to terminate the session by logging out completely from your social networks and never save passwords.
Always check the default privacy settings when opening a new social media profile. Typically default settings are fairly broad and may permit sharing information to a vast online community. As public profiles are not ideal, it’s recommended to modify the privacy settings to the strictest level before posting any information.
We are social beings, so sharing stories and photos with each other has always been a part of our nature. We’re fortunate to have the technology that aids in this behavior and keeps us in touch with those we may not be in close proximity to. Social media is a fun and beneficial part of life – just remember to be smart about it. We hope these quick tips help you do just that!
Guest Post By: Maddie Davis from Enlightened Digital