Protect Your Privacy on Social Networks
Social networking sites don’t protect your personal privacy. Sharing of photo’s, personally identifiable information such as last names, academic information, employment history, and adresses can quickly shift from harmless to dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. Your personal information can be accessed by hackers, criminals, marketing companies, researchers, phishers and online predators.
Here are some tips that you can use to protect your privacy on social networks.
Use your privacy settings, be unsearchable:
There are privacy settings such as “Friends Only” or “Network and Friends Only” that makes it possible for only your friends to view your page. This is a way to protect yourself. Make sure you set your page so that only people on your “friends list” are able to view your profile page. Don’t allow even partial access—lock that page down as tightly as possible. This isn’t the be-all, end-all security measure, of course. Social networking sites are just as hack-able as any other site around. Only the very determined online crook will take the time to crack into your account.
Hide your date of birth; don’t show your age:
Never reveal your full date of birth. At least hide the year. Thieves can track you with your birth date and year of birth. Keep your date public so your friends can express their best wishes but don’t post your year of birth.
Set your photos to be private:
Okay, so the picture of your children, family and friends are adorable. But do you really want the whole world seeing them?, barely dressed and dripping wet? It might seem innocent to you, but in the eyes of a pervert, that picture is anything but chaste. So, don’t forget to set the privacy option on your albums too.
Avoid posting personal information:
Birthdays, phone numbers, addresses, full names—you have the option to share a lot of personal information on these sites. Assuming you have set your privacy settings correctly, only your friends and family should have access to view this information. And seeing that they likely already have this information, there’s no need to post it online. On the off-chance that someone does hack into your page, your exposed information lends itself to identity theft or potentially even stalkers. Private contact information should only be visible to people you trust. Organizing your contact lists to control whom sees this information adds further protection.
Create good Passwords:
When trying to come up with a secure password, don’t use things like your child’s name, or your birthday, or anything that could be easily guessed. It’s important to remember to not use the same password for everything. Also make sure you have a good mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, and keep it longer than eight characters. It’s recommended to change this password at least once every three months.
If you’ve used the same, easily hack-able password for several sites and it falls into the hands of cybercriminals, they may sell the information to telemarketing scams, use it to pull a credit card scam or for identity theft, or use it to break into your accounts to steal more information. You can generate good passwords here http://widgia.com/password-generator.
Make your friends private:
Exposing your friends can expose you too. Make your friendships private to have better control over who can access your personal information, which can help to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
Protect your childeren:
Whether your child is a tween or a teen, make sure you know where they go and what they do online. Ask them to show you any social networking site they want to join or have joined. Ask them to show you their profile and who their network friends are. Read and understand the privacy policies of the sites they visit or join. And, again, remind them to not reveal too much about themselves. Today, socializing online is extremely popular among kids. With your involvement, direction, and supervision, it can be as safe as it is popular.
Social network sites have thousands of applications with forms that you have to fill with personal information . When you fill some of these forms, personal information can be used for marketing or other proposes.
Use your browser’s security settings to reduce your exposure to tracking sites. For example, you might configure the browser to refuse third-party cookies. The aforementioned study provides more details on ways to protect yourself via your browser, although the protection those afford isn’t foolproof.