What started as innocent online phenomenon has ended up being the lifeline for everyone on the Internet. Social media is, of course, fun and a great way to stay connected to people. However, the pressure to be popular or viral has made people do illogical things just to grab attention. The risks of oversharing on social media are simply way more than what meets the eye.
Users often unknowingly share information about their exact location – exposing another layer of personal information – because they are confident of their online safety. Hackers have proven otherwise, stealing $172 billion from 978 million consumers in 20 countries in the past year, according to the global 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report.
June 30 is marked as ‘Social Media Day’ and while you would want to celebrate this on your Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram accounts, here are five dangerous habits you must quit to avoid being victims of stalking, cyber-bullying, identity theft or simply getting trolled, as per Norton.
Sharing everything with everybody is not a clever thing to do. All social media sites give the option to limit post viewing to specific audiences. Take the time to explore these settings, try different options to suit the best privacy setting. For instance, both Facebook and Twitter let you create custom lists of people who are allowed to view specific posts. As you get better at using the privacy settings, bear in mind that not all privacy settings “translate” between websites. For instance, some Facebook users have reported that photographs they set to “private” on Facebook were still indexed publicly in Google Image Search—and could be found by searching for their names. If you don’t want it found publicly, simply don’t post it.
Years ago, social media users competed with one another to have the largest number of connections. Today, however, smart users know that the more people you are connected to, the harder it is to control what happens to the information you post. Make sure you know the people you add on social media, in real life if possible. Don’t hesitate to use the “block” feature when the situation seems to call for it.
“Social engineering” involves attackers using whatever information they can glean from your public profiles – date of birth, education, interests – to try to get into your accounts on all sorts of services. Just imagine how easily someone can find out the name of your first pet or school from your social media profile, then think about how many services use them as security questions. Keep as much of your profile private as you can and think twice before posting every aspect of your life online.
If you are using a public computer, make it a ritual to log out—and log out of private devices from time to time as well. Logging out helps ensure that other people won’t snoop your social media profile and use it to attack your friends, change your personal information to embarrassing or slanderous comments, or worse, change your password and lock you out of your own account entirely.
It’s a pain, but it is also absolutely essential that you don’t use the same password for Twitter as you do for, say, Facebook, Instagram and other social media websites. Using a single password makes it easy for hackers, as gaining access to one means gaining access to all – and imagine how painful it will be when you find you’re locked out of your entire online life. When you use one password for multiple services, you’re only as safe as the least secure service you use.