Safety on the Social Web
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Yes, we interact as a group on LinkedIn, talk and have fun as followers on Twitter and chat, share pictures, videos, news and personal thoughts on facebook but we are individually responsible for our safety.  While we enjoy these privileges, lets us not forget that the social web is also a house for hackers, phishers, and other cyber criminals whose every intention and thought may be to find ways of gaining control of your account for their God knows what purposes.

Don’t Gamble With Your Online Safety

The plain thought that you are not a target is not enough to keep you safe from hackers and cyber criminals. Come to think of it, how many big companies were hacked last year alone? Even DropBox admitted being a victim. And you know what? The perpetrators of these crimes, differently as their intentions may be, go to places where they feel has the best value. And currently, the social web seems the best place to target and victimize individuals. If you don’t want to be a victim to cyber crime and hackers this New Year, you need to actively work towards your protection.

Here are few tips to help you get started:

Use Internet Security Software

There are various free and paid internet security software tools out there that will help keep your moments on the web, and especially on social sites, safer. These tools, among others, will protect you against malicious links and those created to extort your personal information with a code hidden behind a seemingly harmless url. If you can’t afford the paid version of any of these tools, choose one of the best free versions and at least get some shield over your head.

Use Privacy Settings

Unless you are using a social web that is still in its beta, I am sure most of the top social sites like facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and the others, have well featured privacy options with which you can control what the public and even your friends and followers can see about you. If you haven’t, the next time you log in, let it be the first thing you would attend to. Don’t think you are not sharing a lot when in actual sense the public have access to your personal data; including date of birth, place of birth, real name, residence address, phone numbers, work place, best shopping mall, frequent hangout venues and many others. If it’s been long you opened your account and can’t remember what your settings were, it’s a good time to go for a review; you could be saving yourself a lot more troubles in the future.

Review before Accepting Friends

While nobody will blame you for accepting every single friend request you got on your business account on facebook, for instance, you should be more cautious with friend requests on your personal account. According to the survey carried out by Harris Interactive, it was reported that about 13 million Americans of 18 and above would accept every single friend request from the opposite sex regardless  of whether they know the person or not. Have you been doing this? Yes, the social web is a place to meet people and make friends, but when you start getting a suggestion to watch a movie, see a funny picture or click any other link (like most of us have started getting this New Year), please write the person and ask what’s up. If you get no reasonable reply, ignore those links.

Guide Your Personal Details

Do you love your phone number so well that you are willing to share it on your facebook wall or twitter update? While you may think that you are giving your personal details to your genuine friends, some of them may not be what you really think, especially if you haven’t actually met the person in real life. Hence you should be cautious with how you share your personal details online, especially on social networking sites. Such data as your phone number, full name, home address, and other delicate personal and financial details should be properly guided. But if you must, why not send it through SMS and know who actually gets it?

Use Third Party Apps with Caution

This is true especially if you access the social web on your mobile and use third party apps or have installed a couple of scripts to facilitate one area of your social-business activity or the other. But the question is who doesn’t? Before you install any third party app or script, either on your PC, to your social account or on your mobile, please ensure to do your due diligence. Go through what the app promises to do for you, search for reviews about the app and go through the settings to control what information the app can access on your mobile, PC or account. We all know what a world it is in the cyber space these days, and it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that some apps are tools for exploitation.

 

The social media is a ripe platform for making personal and business connections but unfortunately, bad people always flood where there is some evidence of light and good living. While we can’t completely identify and stop cyber criminals, we can at least keep them at bay from our social activities. Avoid being counted as one of the victims this year; it is still January, start early and work towards your protection.

 

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