Social networking websites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter can be used to connect with others and share photos and videos. As the popularity of these sites grow, so do the risks of using them. Hackers, spammers, virus writers, identity thieves, and other criminals follow the traffic.
Read these tips to help protect yourself :
- Use caution when you click links that you receive in messages from your friends on your social website. Treat links in messages as you would links in email messages.
- Know what you’ve posted about yourself. A common way that hackers break into accounts is by clicking the “Forgot your password?” link on the account login page. They search for the answers to your security questions, such as your birthday, home town, or mother’s middle name. Make up your own password questions if you can, and don’t draw them from material anyone could find with a quick search.
- Don’t trust that a message is really from who it says it’s from. Hackers can break into accounts and send messages that look like they’re from your friends, but aren’t. If you are suspicious of a message, contact your friend another way to find out. This includes invitations to join new social networks.
- To avoid giving away email addresses of your friends, do not allow social networking services to scan your email address book. When you join a new social network, you might receive an offer to enter your email address and password to find out if your contacts are on the network. The site might use this information to send email messages to everyone in your contact list or even everyone you’ve ever sent an email message to with that email address.
- Type the address of your social networking site directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks. If you click a link to your site through email or another website, you might be entering your account name and password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen.
- Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network. Identity thieves might create fake profiles in order to get information from you.
- Assume that everything you put on a social networking site is permanent. Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print photos or text or save images and videos to a computer.
- Be careful about installing extras on your site. Many social networking sites allow you to download third-party applications that let you do more with your personal page. Criminals sometimes use these applications to steal your personal information.
- Think twice before you use social networking sites at work.