Social media can be an amazing thing – it keeps you up-to-date on what’s going on in the world and connected with your family, friends, and even strangers. If you run a business, it helps you easily connect with customers and enhance your brand. According to Stastisa, there are 2.77 billion users on social media in 2019. As great as social media can be, it can also be very dangerous when people let their guard down.
Stay safe on social media by following the below best practices:
Don’t share too much personal information on social media. Avoid giving away your phone number, email, address, when you’re leaving for vacation, sensitive photos, financial information, etc. Identity thieves use this information to hack accounts and track your whereabouts.
Social media is one of the biggest gateways for malware. Malware can spread through shortened links or can even be hidden in ads. Be careful what you click on! Always hover your mouse over the link in order to see the correct URL, which will be displayed in the bottom left hand corner of your browser.
One of the most common problems with social media and online dating is catfishing. Catfishing is a scam in which an individual creates a fictitious online identity to seek out relationships. This individual may be bored and is just looking to make friends, but often the motives can be much more malicious. Some catfish seek revenge, or try to steal money and personal information. Spot a catfish by looking for these common signs: they’re too good to be true; their profile is new or incomplete; they move quickly in the relationship; and they won’t meet you.
Excited about your upcoming vacation? Great, but don’t post about it on social media. When you disclose your vacation plans on the internet, you’re letting stranger know the perfect time to break into your home and steal your things.
Do you access social media on your phone? In the case that you’re phone is lost or stolen, make sure it is password protected and that you can remotely wipe your phone. You don’t want strangers to have access to your personal data, conversations, and the opportunity to ruin your reputation.
Don’t accept every friend request that comes your way. Granting strangers access to your accounts, especially if you share sensitive information, can be dangerous. Be choosy with your friends and followers!
Read the privacy policies. It can be a pain to read and understand the policies but you want to make sure you’re okay with the way each social media site uses your data. Also make sure you customize your privacy settings to control who can see your content.
Deactivate all of your unused accounts. You don’t want to leave your personal information going unchecked on the internet, otherwise you risk strangers using it without your knowledge and permission.
Most importantly, remember what goes online, stays online. Social media is an amazing way to create a positive reputation, but it’s just as easy to create a negative one. Think before you post and never share anything that could embarrass you, someone you know, or your company.
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!
“Held every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online,” according to Homeland Security.
“NCSAM 2019 will emphasize personal accountability and stress the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. This year’s overarching message – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. – will focus on key areas including citizen privacy, consumer devices, and ecommerce security.” Learn more about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month here on the Homeland Security website.
Every weekday in October, we’ll help spread Cybersecurity awareness by sharing an important online safety tip.