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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tips for social networking safety

Social networking has become a part of our day to day life. Our social networking accounts are our online identities. As the popularity of these sites increase, the risk of using them have also grown in similar proportions. Hackers, Malwares, Criminals, viruses, etc are some of the threats you to watch out for. You can secure your accounts by following certain security tips which I have listed below.
1)LOOK FOR "HTTPS" IN THE URL BAR: Most of the social networking sites (Also mailing and such related sites) follow a set of security measures which are together termed as HTTPS. So when you visit such sites, for example Facebook.com, you will see "https" written before the name of the website in the URL bar of your browser. For example, the link to Facebook's log in page appears as https://www.facebook.com/ in the URL bar. Always make sure that this https is present in the URL before you enter your log in details to avoid posting your account information on a fake site.

2)STRONG PASSWORDS: It is easy for hackers to gain access to accounts with simple and short passwords. Hence, having a strong password is a must. Always avoid passwords which are easy to guess-for example, your phone number, birth date, etc. Instead try creating a password with a combination of upper and lower case alphabets, numbers and characters. Also, make sure that you keep your password a secret and avoid revealing it to others.Changing passwords on a regular basis is also a good practice.

3) AVOID DODGY LINKS: You might at times come across links which point to certain offers, discounts, lotteries, etc on social networking sites. Be aware that 99% of these links are employed by hackers to gain unauthorized access to users' accounts and steal their personal information. Even if such links appear to be sent by a friend or another known user, never click on such links. This is because your friend's account might have been compromised and it might be hackers who are actually Sending you these links. Make sure that you don't reveal your credit card or banking account details online unless you are certain about the security and protection of your valuable details.

4) ONLY REVEAL NECESSARY INFORMATION: Though it might sound conservative, it is better to post only necessary information about yourself on your social networking accounts. There's also safety in avoiding posting images and videos about yourself which might be misused even if you plan to delete them later on because other internet users can easily download these images and videos before you do so.


5) SAFETY REGARDING THIRD PARTY APPLICATION: Social networking sites allow users to enhance their experience using third party applications. Such applications often ask for your authorization before you start using them. Make sure that you authorize only trusted applications. Also, review your authorized apps on a regular basis and DE-authorize apps you no longer use (Usually, they can be enabled again by just few clicks). This will also keep you safe from many malicious attacks.

There you have my security tips for Social Networking. Many of these tips might also be applicable for other sites such as mailing, online video streaming networks, etc. They are just general tips and might not guarantee 100% safety but significantly reduces the risk of a threat. You may comment below to share your thoughts on the topic or share other safety tips.

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