On any given day, most people “check in,” post status updates, tweet, or upload a picture on a social media platform. Most people use multiple social media sites to stay in touch with friends, family and acquaintances. However, sharing too much information can create a real risk.
We have included a quick list of tips and tricks to increase your social media safety:
- Avoid sharing personal information. Posting your home address and pictures of where you live can open you up to real-world danger when you go on vacation. Sharing information, such as your birthday or phone number, can give people pieces of information used for identity theft.
- Don’t randomly accept a friend request just because it’s there. Identity theft often starts with collection of personal information. A popular tactic is to set up fake online profiles and “friend” people in order to gather personal information from potential victims.
- Consider limiting the frequency of checking in everywhere you go. Check-ins not only allow your friends to know where you are, but others as well. Frequent check-ins may expose you to being robbed, enable people to stalk you or worse.
- Review apps carefully before you download them. It has become popular to create fake apps in order to gain personal information from users or to install malicious software on your device.
- Check your privacy settings to ensure you are not over-sharing personal information. Privacy settings help you better manage your online image.
Four Ways to Protect Your Data
Physically losing your smartphone, laptop, iPad or other mobile device is never fun, but what about the information on those devices? What can you do to protect your information and to get back to “normal” again? Here are some tips that may help you protect your digital identity, data and files.
- You are a target. Hacking, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and other approaches are becoming part of the Internet. It seems as if a new type of attack or data breach is found every week. In order to help protect yourself, be sure to back up your data. There are a number of services that automatically back up your data. If you prefer a solution with a one-time cost, an external standalone hard drive may be the best option. Storage capacity of hard drives is increasing and the costs are decreasing.
- Entry points for malicious attacks are everywhere. Gaming systems, apps and many games on mobile devices are utilizing “always on” Internet connections. This constant connection to the Internet creates a potential access point to your personal data. Anti-virus software, firewalls, passwords and data encryption should be used whenever offered on any device.
- You get what you pay for. Make sure that the security software you purchase includes all applicable security options. Review the features and functions of your anti-virus software. Make sure it keeps you safe from viruses, worms, malware, Trojans, risky e-mails and problematic websites.
- Encryption is the key. Many people encrypt their laptops and desktops but forget a key area of vulnerability – thumb drives. Thumb drives, often called USB sticks or flash drives, should be encrypted so that the data on them cannot be accessed if they are lost. These small devices are easily lost and easily stolen.
- Avoid using the “keep me logged on” option on websites. This “convenience feature” is great if you are at home, but a potential security issue if you are logging on from a public computer.
- Don’t ignore automatic updates. These updates fix vulnerabilities that hackers use to access your system.
- Never open emails from people you don’t know, or click on attachments or URL links (a website address). This is a tried and true method for delivering malware.
- Avoid searching for celebrity gossip. Malware authors know that people naturally gravitate toward gossip and plan new attacks specifically targeting people looking for gossip.
- Avoid file-sharing sites dealing with copyrighted material. They can open you up to potential hacker targeting.
- Don’t do online gaming. Many of these sites sneak adware onto your PC, and some are fronts for identity theft rings.
- Set your Facebook privacy settings so they are not “open.” If you enter your birthdate, location or even your phone number without changing the privacy setting, your information could be seen by everyone.
- Never connect to unknown wireless networks. In public places like airports and hotels, be careful about logging in – people can eavesdrop.
- Do not use the “save my password” feature. Although it is a convenient feature, anyone using your computer can then access the site with your password.
- Never surf the Web using your “admin” account – create a normal user account. Admin accounts, by their very nature, approve the installation of new programs, which can include Malware. QCBN
Written by Eric Noble, a technology expert at CenturyLink.
Are you ready to consult with an expert about cloud options for your business? CenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and a recognized leader in the network services market, offers global cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for businesses of all sizes. To learn more, contact CenturyLink at928-776-2581 or visit www. centurylink.com/connected