Secure Social Networking


allow us to connect with new and old acquaintances, and give us access to opportunities that previously were not possible. With all of the new ways to connect, many doors for cyber-crimes have been opened. However, it is possible to use these sites in a secure way.
All of the major social networking providers symbols

Top Tips to Stay Safe

Evaluate the site that you plan to use and make sure you understand the privacy policy. Find out if the site monitors content that people post. You will be providing personal information to this website, so use the same criteria that you would to select a site where you enter your credit card.

Many social networking sites and chat rooms have adjustable privacy settings, so you can restrict who has access to your profiles. Be sure to check this, as many sites' default settings are “public” or “friends of friends.”

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.

A common way that hackers break accounts is by searching for the answers to your security questions, such as your birthday, hometown, high school class, or mother's middle name.  If these are the types of questions you use to secure your accounts, especially financial, do not post this information on a social networking site.

Just as you should verify that email messages are from indeed from a particular sender, be equally cautious about messages received on social networking sites.  Hackers can break into accounts and send messages that look like they're from your friends.

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.  Do not allow sites to do this, as the site might use this information to spam everyone in your contact list. 

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.

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.

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. To download and use third-party applications safely, take the same safety precautions that you take with any other program or file you download from the web.

While your account may be private and limited to certain viewers, there are potential risks of whatever you have online getting out to the world. Think about the language you use, the pictures and videos you post, and even what your friends post on your wall. Employers, college admissions officers, coaches, teachers, and the police may view your accounts.

Login verification is a feature that helps you keep your account more secure. Instead of relying on just a password, login verification introduces a second check to make sure that you and only you can access your account. For example, only people who have access to both your password and your phone will be able to log in to your account.

Websites should never email you, asking for your password. If they suspect your account has been phished or hacked, they may reset your password to prevent the hacker from misusing your account. In this case, they would email you a link to where you can reset your password.

Social Networking Site Security and Privacy Resources

Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, post links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.

Google specializes in several services, including search, cloud computing, software, and online advertising technologies.

Instagram is a fast and fun way to share pictures and videos with friends and family.  Items saved on Instagram can also be shared on other social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. 

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service and is the largest professional Intenet network, with more than 300 million members.

Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for projects and interests. People create and share collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”) that they use to do things like plan trips and projects, organize events or save articles and recipes.

Snapchat is a photo messaging application ("app"). Using the application, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients.

Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog.

Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140-character text messages, called "tweets".

YouTube is a video-sharing website.  The site allows for registered users to upload videos for viewing.

Additional Resources