Security Risks in Social Media
Recently I ran across a rather humorous video on The Onion. Now while this video is obviously fictitious it does make some really interesting points. People willingly put so much personal information on the sites like Facebook that it makes it easy to find out all sorts of things about them. Where they live, family members, email addresses, phone numbers, employers, where they went to school, and birthdate. All that and we haven’t even looked at any post and updates the user makes. It is no wonder identity theft is becoming such a problem today.
Also, think about this; I have several Facebook friends that regularly tell people when they are going to be out of town. While this may seem harmless enough on the surface someone with a nefarious nature could use this information to their detriment. Instead of staking out homes looking for patterns or waiting for people to leave home all a burglar needs to do is monitor Facebook.
Now, I am not saying to stop using Facebook or other social media outlets. After all I am on Facebook. But I would caution you to be mindful of what information you put out there. Back in November I wrote an article about the Security Risks for Free Wireless Networks and in that article I linked to an Online services security report card. As you can see from the image below:
Most social media sites don’t score to well. The truth is that it is relatively easy for hackers to gain access to your profile. I am sure we all know someone who has had a social media account hacked at one point or another. The point of all this is to make you aware of the risks. Knowing the risk is the first step in protecting yourself. Below are a few helpful tips you can use to help protect your data:
- Keep you virus database up to date
- Be mindful of the people accept friend requests from (make sure you really know them)
- Make sure you are using a firewall
- And perhaps most importantly be mindful of what information you are posting
Remember that there will always be risks but we can minimize them with just a little knowledge and effort.