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Queen's University
 

Social Networking Security Best Practices

 

With the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, it is almost becoming second nature to post personal information online without questioning it. Keep in mind that the information you post is available for the world to see and cannot be permanently deleted from the internet. Just because so many people are now releasing their personal information, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Here is a list of preventative measures you can take to keep your social networking sites as secure as possible.

 

  1. Don’t add people you don’t know as friends or connections. For all you know, these people might be trying to steal your information.
  2. Don’t give anyone your password. Use a strong password that no one will guess easily. 
  3. Don’t forget to log out of the website before leaving a public computer. You don’t want strangers to have control of your account – or friends who might post embarrassing things while pretending to be you.
  4. Use the privacy settings available to control what people can see. Not using privacy controls means you may be sharing data with people you never intended to share with (including current or potential employers). In general, privacy settings are not set very strong by default.
  5. Limit your public profile. Don’t make it easy for strangers to get your information. Find out what your profile looks like to someone who is not logged in.
  6. Be careful when posting pictures. Is there anything in the picture that you don’t want strangers to know or see?
  7. On Facebook, don’t click on suspicious looking videos or links posted from friends. If it looks like a link your friend would never click, or a video they would never watch in a million years, their accounts might be compromised, and yours may be also if you click on it.
  8. Don’t put too much personal information online. Can people see your date of birth, home address, cell phone number, or family relationships? Are you using your full legal name? Do you really want the entire world to have access to this information and potentially steal your identity? If it’s something you wouldn’t normally tell a stranger, don’t put it online.
  9. Don’t post pictures of valuable objects that you own.
  10. Don’t tweet or post everything you are doing in real time, or “check-in” to places with GPS. This means that people you don’t trust will know where you are at all times. It makes you an easy target for stalking and theft.
  11. If you are posting from your smartphone, and don’t want your exact location to be known, disable GPS just to be safe.

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