Key Ways to Protect Your Personal Information When Using Social Media Sites
By Tiffany Rowe- Marketing Administrator At Seek Visibility,
If you’re like billions of other people around the globe these days, you spend time every day viewing and posting on social media networking sites such as Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. In fact, according to the Social Media Update 2016 report by the Pew Research Center, close to 79 percent of Americans who have access to the Internet now use Facebook, while another 31 percent are on Pinterest, 32 percent are on Instagram, and 24 percent are on Twitter.
However, while these types of sites provide users with a handy way to stay in touch with friends and family members, develop new connections, and check out a never-ending stream of content, they can also create some issues when it comes to security risks.
Because so many people use social media sites, this makes them particularly attractive to cybercriminals looking for ways to gain access to accounts, banking information, addresses, phone numbers, financial data, and more. In addition, networking sites are also often homes to ransomware and viruses, which makes it even more imperative to be careful when using them.
If you’re looking for ways to protection your personal information on these types of websites, read on for some handy tips you can follow today.
Understand the Types of Scams Used by Hackers
For starters, it is important to have an idea of the types of scams hackers try out on social media sites, so that you can steer clear of them. For instance, “pharming” is a popular scam. This is a type of phishing attack that sees hackers creating links and ads which send people to fake versions of popular websites like banks, telecommunications companies, government departments, high-profile blogs, and well-known digital publications.
Unfortunately for readers, if they end up on these fake sites they think are real, they might input their login information and other types of personal data, and have these details seen by hackers. From there, cybercriminals can hijack their accounts to get access to sensitive information like bank accounts. To avoid this kind of scenario, never login to websites you’ve arrived at by way of clicking on a link. Instead, always type in the URL directly.
Another one of the most common tricks hackers use is what’s known as “clickjacking.” With clickjacking, cybercriminals post some sort of scandalous, yet made up “news” item online (Facebook, in particular, seems to be the platform of choice for this scam) which is designed to be so sensational it gets a lot of reader interest and clicks. Users who click on the links to read more will typically be redirected to a link that’s embedded with malicious code.
The fake story gets momentum because this code makes it seem like people have favorited or “Liked” the story when they haven’t. In turn, the social media site displays the link to the person’s contacts, and many more eyes end up on the made-up story. Hackers make money from this tactic because they receive advertising revenue. If you notice headlines on social media sites, then, which seem overly sensational or just plain strange, it’s best to dismiss them.
Use Good Quality Security Software to Keep Threats at Bay
Another key strategy to protect your personal information when you’re on social media sites (and just generally using the internet) is to install maximum internet security software on your devices. These types of products work to stop ransomware, viruses, spam, and malware from getting into your systems and allowing hackers to take control of your data or get access to private details.
When selecting software, look for something that covers as many types of potential threats as possible, not just viruses or spam, for instance. Choose a product that will maintain your privacy when you’re browsing online; that guards against identity theft; blocks phishing emails and any kind of harmful website; identifies data-stealing apps and programs; and, of course, that is designed to protect your personal information on social media sites.
In addition, to help you use different passwords on different sites (which is more secure than only having one password you use everywhere), also look for a product that includes a password manager.
Be Careful about the Information You Post on Sites
Lastly, you will keep yourself more protected from cybercriminal attacks if you think carefully before you post personal information on social networking sites. Hackers are aware that people tend to upload all sorts of details on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like, and so they mine these sites to find data they can use to crack passwords, get access to systems, assume identities, and even discover when people will be away from home, so their houses can be broken into.
As such, make sure you never post information on your social media pages that gives people access to personal details (which you may use for your passwords) like your birthday or that of your family members; the names of your children or pets; where you grew up; your lucky numbers or favorite words; your mother’s maiden name; your address, and so on. It’s always better to post too little than to post too much when it comes to personal security online.
Tiffany is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable.