socialmediasecurityguideSocial networking is responsible for having created the busiest website on the Internet. Sites like Facebook and YouTube are attracting people in the millions, and this trend is not set to stop shortly. Despite the popularity of these networks, there are some serious aspects to using them. If you think that’s a matter of common sense, think again, because I can’t recount the amount of times I have seen people offering strangers private information that is supposed to be kept that way.

It seems that social media marketing has left many users with their pants down and their bums exposed. If you want to avoid becoming the next victim of identity theft you should be very careful about the things you share with strangers on the Net. One can never be too careful.

Privacy laws are here for a reason

While you might not feel like reading Facebook’s privacy laws for entertainment purposes, you should at least learn the basics. With whom exactly are you sharing your profile? Do you know who access your latest profile messages, and whether or not strangers can befriend you? You should. It could save you a lot of hassles down the line.

Your personal details should be kept private

What is it with people sharing their birthday online? Come on! Identity theft is rife. If you subscribe to the belief that it is cool to tell the world your full name and birthday, then better get ready to become the next victim. I’m serious, thieves only need a few of your personal details to commit theft of your identity.

In the age of fake identities and online crime it isn’t hard for a savvy criminal to target a vulnerable person. If you share your personal details with the world you can realistically expect to be conned at some stage.

Be wary of strangers

Please don’t share your whole life story with your new Twitter buddies. Unless you personally know and trust a person it is highly possible he is not what he appears to be. Even people you deem “for real” might be someone made up for the sake of conning others, or in some instances to preserve their own online privacy. Keep that in mind at all times when dealing with others.

Think before you post

That drunken photo of you and your mates at the office Xmas bash might not be suited for publication on Facebook. Your boss is lurking, and stunts like these have seen people get sacked and ridiculed. The same goes for videos, text and anything else you publish online.

Assume lurking predators

It sucks having to think that way, but having said this, you better be safe than sorry. Because of the ease in which we can publish and share content with others online the Internet has become a frenzied pool for human sharks; these people stop at nothing to make your life a living hell, and the more they know about you, the easier it is for them to harass.

Your social networking profile isn’t safe; because of weak passwords, third-party software plugins and a lack of awareness many profiles can easily get accessed by hackers. I should know because I recently got very close to losing my Facebook account to a hacker. I had a weak-(ish) password. Thankfully I was able to deter the attack before it became a serious issue.

Needless to say, I now use strong passwords to avoid this sort of problem.

Don’t be a social media sloth

You know, the kind who uses the same crappy and weak password for all his logins. Instead use unique passwords and make them hard to guess. A strong password should be made up of a combination of digits, letters and symbols and not words.

I hope this short guide to social media security has helped you see the bigger (more private picture).

Monika