The proliferation of social media has opened new doors for communication and interaction. These services have become an important part of our everyday lives, enabling us to connect with each other in various ways. Social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook have changed how we use the internet personally and professionally.
While the growth of social media has brought numerous benefits, it has also exposed us to many security risks. Social media platforms offer privacy and security settings to mitigate these concerns, but malicious actors still find ways to break into accounts and gain access to personal information. This raises the question, “how safe is your information on social media?”
Read on to find out the security issues and challenges that plague the social media sphere and what you can do to avoid them:
Common Social Media Security Issues
Many users share personal information on social media without taking the required measures to keep it hidden from outsiders, which leads to compromising their privacy. For instance, a user’s information can be viewed by anybody if the account’s default setting is “Public”.
When you use social media, your information such as name, birthdate, location, and personal habits are shared with third parties for advertising purposes. While some people might find these ads useful, others consider them an invasion of privacy due to the tracking.
Most applications these days ask users to give certain permissions to install and use them. Sometimes, these permissions can be too intrusive. It’s important to exercise caution if an app requires access to certain information for no reason at all.
Believe it or not, but social media is a breeding ground for malware. There have been countless instances of hackers using malware to hijack users’ credentials and impersonate them or steal personal information.
Common Social Media Security Challenges
It refers to stalking and harassment that takes place on the internet. Cyberstalkers make their victim’s lives miserable through various ways like sending inappropriate and rude messages or morphing their photos and spreading them across social media.
There’s so much information out there on social media, making it the perfect target for those who engage in identity theft. Small mistakes can result in your information getting compromised, which in turn is used by scammers to steal your identity.
It refers to the act of publicly revealing sensitive information about someone with the intent of damaging their reputation. As for how doxxers get their hands on this information, all it usually takes is harvesting data on their social media profiles or using methods like IP logging and packet sniffing.
Cyberbullying can occur on messaging platforms, social media networks, and just about any digital medium. The idea behind it is to annoy, scare, or shame victims, which can lead to disastrous consequences.
Tips to Improve Social Media Security and Privacy
Now, let’s take a look at some ways you can improve the security and privacy of your social media accounts:
Choose Secure Passwords
Never use easy-to-guess passwords for your social media accounts. Make sure your passwords are complex and include lower case and upper case letters along with special characters and numbers. You could even use a password generator to help you come up with strong passwords.
It’s extremely important to be wary of what you share or upload on your social media accounts. Refrain from sharing personal details, such as social security numbers or phone numbers, as it can be used against you.
Use Privacy and Security Settings
As mentioned earlier, social media networks have security and privacy settings to help you secure your account and information. A good place to start is enabling two-factor authentication, as it adds an extra layer of security to your social media accounts.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Using public Wi-Fi at cafes or shopping malls to browse social media may not seem like a big deal, but these networks are far from safe. They lack encryption of any kind, meaning nearby hackers can intercept your traffic to steal personal information. If you absolutely need to use these hotspots, don’t forget to connect to a VPN first.
Only Add People You Know
If you’re using your Facebook account and receive a friend request from someone you don’t know, ignore it. You can never be too sure about someone’s intention. Plus, you wouldn’t want them to have access to your pictures and other information as they can’t be trusted.
Don’t Click on Anything and Everything
Be careful of what links and attachments you click on social media. It could very well be data-stealing malware or a phishing attempt in which you’re deceived into revealing sensitive information. Better to be safe than sorry, no?
Use Onion Version of Social Media Networks
Some social media sites such as Facebook have a dark web version of them available. Using it, you can gain access from countries where Facebook is censored and also enjoy extra security and anonymity.
As advantageous as social media is, its use has dangers too that can’t be ignored. By following the tips mentioned above, though, you can improve the security and privacy of your social media accounts by leaps and bounds.