Social Networking has become the heart and soul of today’s lifestyle. In this era of digitization and social community followers, people are less interactive physically and more popular on Social Network. Social Networking can also be categorized based on utilization, like connecting with distant friends or forming new connections. The growing scenario of having a social life on network is not just a blessing but also a boon. Many organizations are providing training programs in order to spread awareness regarding staying safe on social networking websites.
Major security implications while using social networking websites are
- Oversharing information: When creating a profile page, most websites will ask for personal information such as home addresses, birthdays, and phone numbers. Giving this information can be very dangerous and will be made public to anyone who visits a user’s profile page, especially if privacy settings are not set correctly.
- Account settings verification: Accounts need to be set to private; users are still at risk of their accounts being hacked. If someone hacks into an account he or she will be able to view and use the information. Sharing simple things like your favorite color can tip off a hacker to try to see if you used that as a password on your account. The biggest threat of oversharing information is identity theft. Identity theft is not uncommon in the world of online social networking. The anonymity provided online makes it easier for computer criminals to go undetected.
- Identity Masking: Social networking sites make it very easy to pretend to be someone else. Even if an individual may be friends with someone on the site, anyone can take control of a user’s account if he or she can obtain the user’s password. As a result, someone who is a “Friend” can ask for money or gain personal information that can be used to hack into other accounts. For example, you may get a message from a friend asking you for your banking information because he or she would like to wire you some money for your birthday. You may think you’re talking to your relative, but in fact the information is being requested by someone who has hacked into your relative’s account.
- Location-based services: Location-based services can be one of the most dangerous features provided by social networking sites. It exposes the profile user’s location and whereabouts. The service also has a feature that allows users to tag who they are with at any given time. While it can be fun to share your location with friends and family, it can also increase your vulnerability, potentially opening you up to being robbed, sexually assaulted, or worse. Predators can use this tool to track your movements and determine when you are alone or when you are not at home.
- Posting Photos: One of the features of online social networking that many teens enjoy is the photo-sharing feature. The Internet makes it easy to obtain photos and use the images in any way a person may choose. Photo tampering is a big threat when it comes to posting photos online. The use of photo editing tools allows people to manipulate online images in any way they choose, whether it’s used for good or bad purposes. While posting pictures and sharing them with friends can be fun, it can also be risky.
Safety points to remember while using Social Media
- Secure your computer before you go online. The minimum you need is strong anti-virus, antispyware and anti-spam security along with a strong personal firewall to prevent hackers from sneaking in your computer.
- Keep your security up to date. Cyber crooks continue to develop new crimeware and other nasty stuff. Security companies constantly research and update their protection, which you need to make sure your computer – and your family – remain safe from cybercrime.
- Avoid free screensavers, smiley faces and other free stuff unless you absolutely know the download is safe. It’s the safest way to make sure you don’t infect your computer with crimeware, adware and other nasty stuff that can steal your information and ruin your computer.
- Safeguard your private information. Lots of websites offer benefits to folks who provide personal information that they turn around and sell to advertisers, marketers and sometimes crooks. Before you fill out that form, make sure you want whatever it is they are offering. The price may be too high.
- Set up a free Web-based email address and provide that address to websites whenever you sign up for anything. That way, a lot of the spam will go to that free account instead of your personal inbox.
- Create complex usernames and passwords for websites and email addresses. That makes it harder for cyber crooks to break into your online accounts and steal your information or money.
- Avoid pop-ups (Web browser windows that pop up) like the plague. If you have a newer computer, pop-ups are usually blocked by default. Keep it that way. Above all, never enter personal information in a pop-up window, since it could be a phishing site. Be smart and don’t become another identity theft victim.
- Take care when shopping online: Look for indicators that the website is secure, like a small lock icon on your browser’s status bar, a trusted seal like those from VeriSign or TRUSTe and a website URL that begins with “https” (that “s” stands for “secure”).
- Lockdown your wireless home network. If you don’t know how hire someone to help you or use wireless protection software that makes wireless security easier to manage. Unprotected wireless networks invite cyber crooks to rip you off.
- Turn on or buy parental controls for your computer to manage when your kids can go online, and limit them to approved, safe websites. Some parental controls even limit your children’s ability to share or download files, helping to ensure they don’t load your system with spyware.
Various Security Solutions:
Internet Security Suites: Internet security suites include anti-virus, antispyware and anti-spam protection, and a personal firewall, all in one package. Most suites include automatic updates to make sure your protection remains up-to-date with the latest threats and risks. The best suites also include tools to back up your valuable files and maintain your computer system.
Website Rating Services: These are services that focus on testing websites to see whether they include risky downloads, load your system with spyware or deluge visitors with spam. One of the best-known services is McAfee Site Advisor.
Wireless Protection Software: Wireless protection software makes it easier to secure and manage your home wireless network. It also makes it easy to share printers and files over the secured network. Wireless protection software is available as a standalone product and may also be included with some Internet security suites.
Parental Controls: This security software is included with several security suites and is also available as a standalone product. Buy it, install it and use it. Kids may not think it’s fair, but it’s much safer than leaving them unprotected. Biometrics several companies now offer security products that use your fingerprint or other personal features to make sure only you or people you approve can access your computer. You can use these tools to safely store passwords and keep your kids from outsmarting your parental controls.