Social Media

Social Media Security Tips

Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Whirlpool, Twitter, MySpace, the list goes on and on. Many many people belong to one or more social media or sharing sites and they are, for the most part, a good thing. They help folks stay in touch and share common interests. They also can be misused and abused. So what are the golden rules for Social Media ? Allrighty, here we go.


Did you post a note in Facebook saying you are heading overseas for 3 weeks ? Did you “check in” somewhere in a different city on Foursquare ? Did you limit who could see that ? Well, you probably should have. Many social media sites allow you to control who can see your posts, which is a really good thing. There is a growing trend for ne’re-do-wells (and the merely curious) to monitor publicly posted updates featuring key words so that they can then use other publicly available information (the whitepages for example) to find out where you live and help themselves to your Barry White collection. There are some relatively humorous WEB sites out there right now that trawl public posts for key phrases such as “hangover” and “call in sick”.

So what do you do ? Well, many social media sites allow you to tackle this in a couple of different ways. Firstly, you can alter your sharing settings to limit your posts visibility by default. Others allow you to share each post with specific groups of people. Sure, it’s an extra step when posting but surely it’s worth it.

What do people know about you ?

Your social media profile. You know you are badgered every time you log in to finish filling it out. Your DOB, full name, address, phone number, likes, interests, status, mood, weight, favourite designer, good grief ! While the purpose is to improve your online experience, make sure you limit who can see that. Just your immediate friends, people you trust, and so forth. DOB can be useful if people are trying to find you, but maybe limit it to month and year only. The rule of thumb here is generally that if you wouldn’t give all that information to someone in the street, make sure you don’t give it to everyone on the Internet.

Take a look in the mirror (metaphorically speaking)?

Have you ever NOT logged on to your social media site(s) of choice and searched for yourself ? If you haven’t checked out your profile settings it can be interesting, and sometimes a little alarming. Check it out sometime. If it worries you, log on and check your settings. Facebook, specifically, have historically had a habit of changing the options, and the defaults for those options, on a regular basis.

Getting in the door ?

Passwords. Sigh. Yes, I know. As with mobile phones, your social media login is an important bit of information you should protect. Have a strong password and enable two factor or strong authentication if your provider of choice supports it. Don’t use the same password for multiple sites, bank account, or e-mail accounts. Using these things it is very simple to steal your identity, and it’s not as funny as the recent movie would have you believe. Identity theft can potentially leave you penniless, with a bad reputation, and with no recourse. I’ll leave that one right there.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.