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How to use social media accounts safely on the internet?

How to use social media accounts safely on the internet

With a large number of people online and social media apps becoming popular among user, social networking apps like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Foursquare, Google+ have become significant in the life of people, but when its threats are considered there is high risk involved in using social media applications. With a lot of users all connected with their family and friends, it becomes very crucial to have knowledge about the threats and risk of social media.

Identity getting stolen

The identity thieves stole personal information about a person or a business from social media apps, even if the applications are on their highest security level. There are many ways through which identity thieves can get hold of sensitive information. For example, an attacker can get access to personal information by clicking forget the password, once the attacker is able to gain access to the email account they can easily gain sensitive personal information. Therefore, instead of deleting the social profile a user can use the following precautions;

Strong password: having a strong password is going to make it harder for people to guess the password, using multiple characters, symbols, a combination of capital and small letter and not using name or birthday as the password will be a better strategy. 

Being careful with a status update: innocent user can post status update like “Happy Birthday to my mother” here the attacker like the identity thief can get important information such as the maiden name of mother, and one of the most common security questions is “what is your mother’s maiden name”. By this identity, the thief can easily change the password and gain access to private information. So it is better to be cautious about what to share on social media as the risk for identity theft is increasing.  

Avoid revealing the location: It is safe not to reveal location such as current city or state on social media sites, user can use a fake location or might not even share anything regarding the current location.

Avoiding the social media profile getting hacked

Attackers like to use social media applications to directly get access to the computer system of the user and inject malicious codes into the user computer system, the use of shorthand link which can be generated from sites like bit.ly which can easily trick a user to click the link and visit a potentially harmful site and getting personal information compromised. One of the best strategies is to never click on links until sure about the source of the link.

Hovering over the link: if we hover over a link then on the lower corner of the browser we can see the full URL of the link if hundred % sure that it is correct then only click on the link.

Try link scanner: a link scanner is dedicated website where a user can enter URL of a website and if the user is suspicious of the link, it is advised not to click that link.

Avoid letting stalker find you: when social media sites are being used, most of the user is posting personal information, by doing this they are making themselves vulnerable to be found by stalkers, even with the highest security settings users can leak their private information on the internet.

There are some basic ways through which personal data of individual and business can be protected, some of these are;

Two-factor authentication: Use two-factor authentication referred by TFA, it is defined as the process of assigning an additional level of authentication and security, it is also called as multifactor authentication. In this process, the user is required to provide additional information along with username and password. For example in Google mail, a user is required to provide a phone number on which one-time password (OTP) can be sent. It is a safer method of authentication.

Proper privacy method: As in case of Facebook, personal information of the user such as name, profile picture and mail is visible to other users, therefore it is recommended to use privacy setting where a user cannot see the personal information. This can be done by using the privacy setting on Facebook. Use of privacy settings helps in maintaining personal information in secure ways.

Frequent audit: hackers are constantly developing new methods for hacking into accounts of users. Companies should be prepared to handle any of these attempts from hackers. It is recommended that companies use regular audit and update the accounts details and password. For performing audits, users are required to update accounts setting. Companies must audit social media policy, only specific users are selected who can get access to accounts.  

Data backup: An important measure that should be taken are having a regular backup of important factors. In the case of cyber-attacks, there is less chance of financial loss. Companies can maintain a regular backup schedule and all the important file should be stored on the local hard drive. Nowadays cloud storage is used where files can be uploaded daily.

Prohibit social media: if there is no specific need where employees are required to use the company accounts as well as social media account then it is recommended that the use of social media accounts should be prohibited. Routers can be configured to ban websites that are not necessary to access or have a higher risk of exposing personal data for employees. Specific devices such as desktop, laptops and tablet devices can also be restricted from accessing social media and networking applications. This will not only create high-security risk but can also boost the productivity of employees.

Employee awareness: If social media apps cannot be restricted on business networks then it is recommended to provide awareness of threats caused by using social media applications. Each person should understand the advantages and disadvantages of using social media accounts. Providing social media training can help in making the employees capable of using social media applications safely.

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