ITS

Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Best Practices

Social Media Security

With the popularity of social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, it has become almost second nature to post personal information online without questioning where that information could go and who could potentially have access to it. Keep in mind that what you post is available for the world to see and can’t be permanently deleted from the internet. Just because so many people are posting publicly, doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Here is a list of preventative measures you can take to stay safe on social media sites:

  1. Never give anyone your password and always use a strong password that can't be easily guessed.
  2. Only add people you know and trust to your social networks. Adding people you don’t know as friends or connections opens the potential that these unknown users might be trying to steal your information.
  3. Limit what you share publicly. Don’t put too much personal information online, including your public profile. Details like your date of birth, home address, phone number and family relationships can be used to steal your identity. Try a Google search for yourself and find out what your profile looks like to someone who isn’t logged in.
  4. Check the privacy settings for your account to control what people can see. Many sites set their default privacy controls very low, which means you could be sharing personal details with people you wouldn’t normally (including current or potential employers).
  5. Be careful when posting pictures. Is there anything in the picture that you don’t want strangers to see? Avoid posting pictures of valuable objects that you own or that could be used to identify you, like your house or car.
  6. Don’t click suspicious looking links or videos from friends. If it looks like something they wouldn’t normally share, their accounts might be compromised – and yours could be too if you click it.
  7. Don’t share everything you do in real time or continuously “check in” to places you visit. This tells people where you are at all times and makes you an easy target for stalking and theft. .
  8. Remember to log out before leaving a public computer. Don’t let strangers have access to your account – or friends who might post embarrassing things while pretending to be you.
  9. Use GPS features wisely.  GPS tracking can allow social media like Facebook and Twitter to geotag your messages. If you’re using your smartphone and don’t want your location to be known, disable geolocation services, just to be safe.

For more information on staying safe online, visit the ITS Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015 page.