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Social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have become very popular places for people to interact with their friends, meet new friends or discuss current events. The main advantage of social media is that it links people with common careers and interests, and offers an ideal way of sharing videos, opinions, photos and information.

However, despite all the benefits, there are some security and privacy risks associated with social media. So how can you protect yourself?

Security Tips

  • When registering with a social network, you are expected to submit your real name, as well as a valid email address. Make sure you select a strong password which is at not less than six-characters long.
  • Consider a digital security platform called Aura which will monitor your essential accounts and alert you of any potential risks or suspicious activity
  • Use a firewall in your computer as protection against unknown threats. To block known threats, install an up-to-date antivirus. In addition, use intrusion prevention software to keep you informed about potentially hazardous behavior on your computer.
  • Don’t open, download or respond to any content sent or published by unidentified individuals. Opening or downloading such content might result in the activation of a virus which could compromise the data in your computer.
  • Avoid logging in to your personal profile from public computers. This action is exposes you to many risks, such as a local cache or a keylogger capturing your login details. These details may later be retrieved and used and used to access your profile illegally.
  • Be cautious when dealing with social media widgets. Such third party applications which are offered as downloads are usually not tested for security flaws or compatibility. Therefore, when you decide to utilize any of these applications, you need to be sure about what you are installing.

Privacy Precautions

  • Never disclose sensitive information. Considering their open nature, social networking platforms are very vulnerable. You should therefore avoid revealing any sensitive details about yourself, such as your cell phone numbers, your child’s school, your social security number or your home address. You should also avoid posting anything which would work against you, such as videos and photos which show you in compromising situations.
  • Don’t allow strangers to view your profile. Limit access only to friends, family or people you know.
  • Don’t trust people you meet online. Remember that not everyone is who they claim to be. If you have to meet such people in real life, make sure you do so in safe, public places.
  • If you own a website, make sure to get a free SSL certificate to keep your and your site visitors’ data protected
  • If you encounter incidences of harassment, stalking, spam or any other intrusions, you need to report such cases to those who are responsible for ensuring appropriate conduct on the social network. You will find the relevant contact information in the site’s Contact Us or FAQ section.

Stay safe!