Social networking sites
Social networking sites are now a primary source for communicating and keeping in touch with friends and family. You share pictures, post updates and reveal all sorts of personal information about yourself – which makes these sites prime targets for criminal activity.
What are the risks?
- Your personal information could be stolen by a cyber criminal, putting your identity and accounts at risk.
- The personal information you share online could give cyber criminals enough to piece together your email address and password.
- Cyber criminals could gain access to any account that has a password recovery service and use any saved information to make purchases.
- Links in messages from cyber criminals posing as someone you know could be a part of a phishing attack trying to trick you into sharing personal information or contain malware that infects your computer.
- Geotagged photos are photos that have geographical information, like your current location, added to them – and today, most smartphones and digital cameras have a function that automatically geotags all your photos unless you turn it off. Geotags can expose where you live, when you're traveling and even what car you drive, which could make you a target for robbery.
- When you update your status with your whereabouts on a regular basis, you could tip someone off to your routine, and invite real-life threats like robberies, break-ins or stalking.
- If you add "friends" you don't know, you could become the victim of a scam.
- Apps deleted from your account may not be fully deleted – the creator may still have access to your information.
- If you don't have a strong password, others could gain access to your profile and pose as you – and potentially send out spam or fake posts that are damaging to you.
- Potential employers could search social networking sites to get a sense of your character. If you've uploaded damaging or embarrassing photos or posts to your social network account, you could hurt your reputation and your chances of employment.
Three of the easiest things you can do to be sure of your privacy on social networking sites are:
- Choose a strong password that you change often
- Take the time to set your privacy setting to control who can see what
- Always think carefully about any information you choose to share online
Find out other ways to protect yourself online
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