Staying Cyber Safe on Social Media

Laura BednarCybersecurity and Vulnerabilities

Social Media Cyber Safety

Tweeting, posting, sharing, commenting. These are all verbs that people have adopted as a natural part of their vocabulary since the birth of social media sites. While the technology keeps us connected to other people and informs us about the events in the world today, it also opens us up to cyberbullying, identity theft, and a tarnished reputation.

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It’s important to be smart online and utilize social media responsibly. We have a few tips for you to practice when you venture onto social networking sites to help you think before you post.

Manage Your Privacy Settings

The best precautions to take when you create a social media account begin with managing your security settings. Users can choose to make accounts public or private, and ensure only their followers can see what they post. It is also important to enable two-factor authentication and create a strong password for your accounts so that no one will be able to hack your profile and share things you never would. Some questions you should answer by using these privacy tools are:

  • Who can see what I post?
  • Who can send me a direct message?
  • Who can look up my profile?
  • What personal information can people access?

Don’t Overshare

While you can be tempted to post photos of every night out on the town or vacation you take, this can put you at risk. Cybercriminals are searching the web for that kind of content to find out when you aren’t home to go after your belongings, or to find out where your local hangouts are to find you in person.

Our Director of Forensics at Secure Data, Allan Buxton said, “In the past two years, companies have admitted to collecting location data without disclosure, failing to anonymize their collected data per their published policies, having loose controls on access to said information, circumventing privacy controls and targeting children directly through misleading tactics.”

Privacy has become a serious issue online, as exemplified by Facebook, who has been guilty of paying to track people’s online usage and leaving servers unsecured. When you post everything you do, it will live online in infamy, even if you “delete” the photo from your page. Schools and workplaces alike will most likely view your social media accounts before making decisions on accepting you as a part of their organization.

In short, be wary of what you post online and think of what you say today may affect you down the line.

Report a Cyberbully

Buxton says that if you have experienced cyberbullying, that you should immediately quarantine the device so that the evidence is not destroyed or tampered with. Then contact your local police department and give them as much information about the situation as you can.

Some of the most effective ways to educate children and adults alike about the effects of cyberbullying are attending safety presentations at schools or communities where speakers have experienced it themselves. Driving home the basics of social media safety as trends and sites change is the only way to ensure internet safety.

Common Sense Security Tactics

It’s easy to still be connected to other people while maintaining some of your privacy. Simply avoiding adding your personal data like phone numbers, addresses, and location can make a huge difference in the security of your account. Some other key takeaways are:

  • Stay positive online and don’t post something about others that you wouldn’t want posted about yourself.
  • Don’t believe pop-ups or friend requests that seem to be harmless. Research on the person or post in question before accepting a request or communicating with someone
  • Once you post online, it’s in the cyber world forever, so rethink your post before you share it indefinitely.

3.48 billion people all over the world use social media, meaning its popularity isn’t fading any time soon.