Social networking sites continue to become more popular. Facebook is expected to hit its one billionth user in August 2012. While social networking sites can offer many benefits, such as a good way to make connections with people with similar interests and goals and to exchange ideas and information, it is important to remember some basic security tips.
It really comes down to basic common sense and applying the same principles you would apply to share personal information with anyone you may not know well or someone you just met.
- Limit what you share. Most social sites allow you to limit what information you share and who you share it with. By setting your privacy settings appropriately, you can prevent your profile from being public to the world.
- Friend only people you know. While some people think it’s great to have 5,000 friends, it’s best to only connect with people you really know.
- Limit personal information. Everyone loves to be told “Happy birthday,” but do you really need to list the year you were born, the state, or even your home town? This same information can be used by attackers to guess passwords or gain access to online accounts.
- Limit your trust. Most studies show that users are much more cautions in clicking on links in emails yet don’t always show the same level of caution when clicking on links in social networking sites.
- Don’t announce all your travel plans. While it’s nice to share the fact that you are going on that long, anticipated two week vacation to Hawaii, crooks can use that information to plan when to break into your house.
Practicing basic common sense can help you enjoy social networking while protecting your personal information; this will also help keep you safer from hackers!