Safe Social Media Use

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Social Media has become such a big part of the world at large and most of our lives but how can simply connecting with your friends online be dangerous?

Social Media in general is revolutionary in terms of how easily you can make connections online, keep in contact with friends and family, or even reconnect after years apart.

However, just like the internet at large, it’s not without its risks. With a large concentration of people comes the opportunity to target a great number with malware and online scams of many kinds.

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, explains why Social Media can be a minefield and how users can better protect themselves.

Fake Facebook

“The biggest problem we have is not being 100% certain the page is legit, it’s very easy to create, maintain and post on Facebook pages.

“Some are designed to attract customers or to promote business but some are created purely to attract visitors or “likes” then possibly sold off (forbidden by Facebook) or used to distribute malware or spam.”

It’s not uncommon for a Facebook page to attract users with funny or interesting linked articles only for the content to suddenly change to clickbait or even malicious links to malware harbouring websites.

“Another problem is we have little control over friends or friends of friends that are able to view information we share with our friends or follows.

“We don’t really know who is actually aware we are off on holiday for 2 weeks leaving our house unoccupied and ripe for potential burglars.

“We need to understand that social media is an advertising medium: not just for products but also for our daily movements if you post that very Monday you go to the gym for 2 hours it’s like putting a banner on your front door as an open invitation.”

This is called ‘over-sharing’ and can be a real problem. Over-sharing concerns literally sharing your every movement, thought and photo. This can be dangerous because you could be giving away far too much information about your movements and/or fodder for social engineering.

More security is good security

Most Social Media websites now offer some form of two-factor authentication or two-step verification, which adds an extra layer of security making it harder to have your account hijacked.

It’s also a good idea to review your settings on websites like Facebook and Twitter, particularly the settings concerning who can see and share what you’re post: limiting it to direct friends only and then vetting everyone you become friends with is a great idea to limit potential damage.

Last but certainly not least, watch which pages you choose to like or follow: try to stick to verified accounts or accounts you know and trust. Even trusted verified pages can be hacked however, so always take what you see online with a pinch of salt and watch where you click.

Are you going to review your Social Media security settings?

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