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Social Networking

Using social media and social networking sites comes with all the same risks as browsing the internet, and quite a few more that are specific to social networking.

What Are the Security Risks of Using Social Media?

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) identifies these five primary dangers of using social media:

  • Viruses - Placed in websites or third-party apps
  • Tools - Software that allows criminals to access and/or take control of accounts
  • Social Engineering Attacks - Emails or comments that appear to be from legitimate sources requesting information or providing a URL to malicious site
  • Identify Theft - Criminals learn personal details from social media posts that allow them to assume your identity or guess your passwords and usernames
  • Third-Party Applications (e.g., games, quizzes, etc.) - Apps can contain malicious code and/or allow access to personal information

How to Stay Safe on Social Networks

How secure are your social media habits? Improve your security by following these best practices from US-CERT and StaySafeOnline.org:

  • The Internet is Public - Only post information that you're comfortable sharing with anyone in the world. This is no such thing as "private" on the internet.
  • Adjust Privacy and Security Settings - Default settings often provide the least amount of security available. Adjust the settings for each of your devices and accounts to provide the maximum protection available.
  • Every Post is Forever - Even after posts have been deleted, the information can still be found.
  • Own Your Presence - What you post online impacts your personal and professional reputation. Who you are online is who potential employers will assume you really are.
  • Protect Your Personal Info - It's what criminals are after:
    • Read privacy policies
    • Don't give away your personal info
    • Segment friends for different types of sharing
  • Block, Remove, Report - If you see bad stuff in your feed, block, remove and/or report it.
  • Be Very Cautious About Third-Party Applications - They are frequently targeted by criminals.
  • Antivirus Software - Use it and keep it up-to-date
  • Keep Software and Browsers Up-to-Date - Remember to reboot daily. Many updates don't take effect until your device is rebooted.
  • Use Unique and Strong Passwords for Each Account
  • Turn on Two-Factor Authentication
  • Be Very Cautious Clicking on Links in Posts and Ads

Additional Resources


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