Social media has been the phenomenon in recent times with many people having accounts in various different platforms and services. It is from these services that people use to connect with friends and other people on the internet in various different places all over the world. The social networking sites have helped people to share among themselves personal messages, photos and videos. A few examples of the most popular are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and many others.
The sad news is that the rise in popularity of such social networking sites has brought about a rise in the risks which are associated with them. Criminals have infiltrated the networks and they are perpetrating all manner of bad things on followers on the different sites. Hackers, spammers, virus writers, thieves name them all have swarmed on these sites preying on the followers. A lot of caution is advised for people visiting the social networking sites so that they do not fall for the many tricks employed by these criminals. The ease of which people get to join such networks also applies to the ease which the criminals get to take charge of people’s accounts or they get their personal information. Here are some tips and bits which could help an individual keep away from the criminals and their devious ways.
· First and foremost, it is important that an individual is well aware of the information that they post on these social networking sites. It is important to personalize information by changing the set out information material which is going to make it easy for hackers to break into their accounts and with access to information later get into their financial accounts and other important accounts. It is good to formulate your own password questions to secure your accounts. Also make sure that a strong password is used to access the account. Never give out the password and remember to change it regularly.
· The next point therefore becomes that we should never provide sensitive information like the financial account details, the cell phone number, an address, credit card numbers, and even a social security number which when they fall into the hands of the cyber criminals will be used against you.
· Desist from allowing the social networking sites and all other applications on them from scanning your email address in search of friends on the same network. This helps in not giving away the email addresses of friends and even other people to whom you have sent email addresses.
· Avoid or be extremely cautious when clicking on links that may be found or are received from friends on the social network. These links are potential threats to your account, other personal information and even to your PC. They should be treated with a lot of suspicion.
· Not all messages from friends are to be trusted and it is important that if you suspect a message that you really seek authentication from the friend via other means. Hackers could have hijacked the account and are using it to perpetrate or entice people into the same trap that may have befallen the specific friend.
· It is important to select who you accept as a friend on these social networks. Be aware that identity thieves will often create fake profiles so that they are in a position to solicit information from you.
· It will be important that you protect your personal computer to avoid spam and the infiltration by viruses and spyware. This calls for the use of antivirus software and the use of firewalls to prevent unauthorized entry into your computer. Always keep updated copies of all these software to be on the safe side.
· It is prudent for an individual to enter the web address of the website on the browser to avoid getting scammed or directed to different websites where personal and login details are captured by the criminals.
· Teach the children on proper usage of the social networking sites and particularly let them know that giving out personal information is not proper.
· The third party applications allowed on the social networking sites are never that good even though they allow for improved functionality on the social networking page. There exists a risk with the use of these applications which will often be used to steal personal information.
It should be remembered that the social media sites are like billboards which we all see on the roadside but in this case they are billboards on the internet. What this implies is that about anyone gets to see the kind of activities that an individual is engaged in. Therefore, do not disclose personal information and that regarding close family members. This should be impressed on children and if possible restrict access and learn more about the website to assure security when social networking. Security begins with the application of common sense before going further to the use to more comprehensive measures.