Social media has become an essential part of our lives. The first thing we do after waking up is check our newsfeed.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and other such sites are tools to connect with friends and family. Unbeknownst to us, we’re attracting other people through our daily activity.
An increase in criminal activity has made these networking sites a threat. Our assumed trust on these sites can harm us in several ways, if proper precautions are not taken.
Here are the top 5 security threats and tips to prevent them.
1. Identity theft
Cyber criminals can gather your personal information, even when your account has highest security settings activated.
Most of these sites require birthdays, email addresses and other personal information. Using this information, it becomes easier to hack the account.
A simple example is the security question we use to recover our passwords. Your mother’s maiden name is probably easiest to remember.
Now, if you post a birthday message and tag your mother who has mentioned her maiden name on the site, this information gets linked to you and becomes available for hackers to misuse.
Make sure you have a strong password, set up tougher security questions, and be careful with your posts and tags.
2. Account hacking
The more you share personal information online, the easier it is to hack your account.
Another method common for hacking accounts is injecting malicious codes through obscure links.
Shortened URLs are particularly threatening because you don’t know where it would redirect you. Personal information can be intercepted, including financial credentials.
Never open links forwarded by strangers or anything you’re doubtful about. Try link scanners to find out if a link is suspicious or hover over it without clicking to read the full URL.
Apart from your friends and followers, even pages you like or follow can inadvertently leak your personal information. Companies also put invisible markers called cookies to track your activity, while you browse their business website.
Some websites give you an option to choose ‘Do Not Track’ setting. You should also clear your browser history and clear cache and cookies to get rid of them.
4. Burglary and other physical threats
The problem with social media sites is that they put you at risk of physical threat as well. When you post your location, for instance, about a planned trip, you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable situation.
Criminal will know that you won’t be home, putting your house at risk of burglary. Avoid posting your plans and uploading vacation pictures, until you’re back home.
Relax with the status updates and any other piece of information that can hint your whereabouts.
Whatever you do, don’t be overconfident about your security settings or your ability to protect yourself from cyber threats. Always be vigilant and conscious of your social media activity.
Of course, you can and should use these sites as much as you want. But be careful about what you share.
Several antivirus software packages offer real-time protection which also prevents threats from social networking sites. Speak with our online antivirus tech support service to find the best program for your system.