Privacy and Your Social Media Security

by CHERYL GNAD on March 27, 2017

Padlocking Your Privacy – Social Media Security

 

padlock your social media securityWhen you go on vacation you want to believe that your home that you left is safe. Little do you know, you may have sabotaged it’s safety by your social media! You may come home to an empty house! We will discuss ways of how you may be making yourself vulnerable to problems (and not just on vacations) by how you post in your social media.

Here are 5 areas that you may need to tighten things up a bit in your social media security.

1.    Your regular settings. 

Be very careful of leaving your Facebook profile open to detailed information about you and your home and family. Choose settings that give you options to limit your audience. Start out with –

  • Having a strong password – Avoid using common passwords that are easy and popular with many people. Choose words or phrases that are very unique – with Caps, numbers, and symbols. Use tools that “store” your passwords for you since you should have more than just ONE password – don’t reuse passwords on multiple sites! Tools like DASHLANE is free and it gives you only ONE password to remember – the one that opens the list of others that will AUTO-fill as you enter password guarded sights.  Visit Dashlane.com to check this tool out.
  • Decide if you really MUST have your personal address listed for public viewing. Use fake addresses – locations – city or state, or just leave blank. Let’s say you are a business, having a brick and mortar location might be necessary, but a home based business  should be left to personal messaging and not a public listing on your social media site.
  • Watch what you post! Identity thieves are looking for your personal info – like maiden name, birth date, address etc. Tagging your mother for her birthday for your birthday wishes provides birth date and maiden name which could be your answers to security questions – yes? Don’t do it! How well are you allowing others to SEE who you are?
  • Set your posts for the audience that it is intended for – in Facebook, for instance , the little round globe can be changed to All View, Friends or just Family can see it; or even just YOU – if you are using Facebook as your own scrapbook of memories.

2.    Watch those “shortened links”.

An important part of having social media security is knowing that many links are shortened because it conserves characters in a limited post or just a lot prettier, (like on Twitter). This is where YOU need to be careful that it is leading you to where you really want to go! Hackers will use shortened links or urls like a bit.ly, Ow.ly or TinyURL to hide the real FULL URL that identifies the source of this site that will “compromise” your information that they request from you!

How do you know if you are using a safe link when it is a shortened link?  You can:

  • First – hover over the link – does the address (real, long form of the URL show up)? If you know it, or recognize it for where you believe you will find the right info, go ahead and click on it.
  • Try a LINK SCANNER – there are websites that will allow you to check a link by entering the URL that you are suspicious of it being safe. Try sites URLVoid (http://www.urlvoid.com/) or MyWOT (http://www.pcworld.com/article/231795/wot_web_of_trust.html) as tools for this.
  • Double check the shortened links – social media sites like Twitter often use shortened links to conserve character spaces used for the message. Ow.ly and bit.ly are the most popular. Use Sucuri (https://sitecheck.sucuri.net/) to determine if the link is safe or not.

3.    Letting everyone know where you are!

Vacations are fun! They provide you NEW material to share and it is a great pastime while sitting in line or on long drives in the car to post about where you are going, how long the adventure is and what you are doing. Even your short trips around town can lead a “snoopy” burglar to learn about your comings and goings and your daily routine to know when is a good time to do a short 10 minute “home visit” while you are gone! If they are confident that you won’t return – what keeps them from stealing your possessions in record time? So, what can you do?

  • The best choice is to – NOT post at all! Keep them guessing! Your friends will be guessing too, but when you come back on – they will be riveted to your posts and pictures!
  • Don’t share all of your plans. Ask questions and aim them to “sometime in the future” and be illusive to when.
  • Use the audience selector in the post – limit viewing of posts to certain groups, like a family group, to view your photos.
  • How about waiting until you return home! This way you can put together a great series and with planning you have a better story to share.

4.    Use the Privacy Setting of the social media platform

  • Avoid NOT customizing your settings. The platform’s setting are wide open. Make it YOUR platform and share what you want to who you want.
  • Follow only those that are worthy of following.
  • Allow only those that you can trust to follow YOU!
    1. If they are suspicious – block and delete! You OWN this space, so control it!
    2. Don’t answer stranger’s questions – they may be mining for self-identifying information about you.
  • Conduct business on business pages – not personal platforms. Keep personal – personal.

One of Facebook’s Terms of Service rules are – to use a personal profile that represents you as a REAL person.  To build a business page, in most cases, one must have a personal profile (there are times that a PAGE can be made without a profile, but this is an exceptional and rare situation with Facebook, and not beneficial to any business). Your business page can have the necessary info to conduct a true representation of your business online.  Developing a FAKE personal profile for your business page to be built from is against Facebook rules. See ______

Become familiar with each platforms social media security settings.

Have you done a check up on your Facebook security? If you click on the ? mark in the dark circle in the top right hand blue bar area, you will find in the menu PRIVACY CHECKUP.  This is there to help you choose the settings that give you the proper amount of security you desire. Follow those prompts to see how you are being seen by others. Change them to fit your needs for Posts, Apps, and Profile.

One setting that is important to use AS YOU POST, if necessary, is the individual post privacy setting in your Facebook post. Here you can choose between Public, Friends, Friends except…, Specific Friends, Only me. Certain occupations don’t allow public posts on a social media platform to the general public – such as therapists. So by keeping their posts private it helps to communicate helpful information without breaks the Ethics Rules.

Other niches have limitations too. They are most financial institutions – investing companies, insurance companies etc. – they can only state that they are working for the company in their bio and not share trade information. Their platforms should be set on PRIVATE too. Various multi-level, or network marketing companies have stringent rules on use of social media, and again, being private or in a group may be allowed for privacy and not to SPAM others. Learn the legal reasons of how to promote or use the platform for your business on social media.

There are more platforms and security steps for one do, that isn’t even touched upon here. With hacking and identity theft on the rise, protecting yourself is YOUR responsibility. Know the settings available to you and be aware of what you place on the social platform. YOU are NOT alone – in this cyber world anymore! Be vigilant in what others are saying about you – if it isn’t a fact that you published – check it out. Know that an impostor may be in your midst and your could be identity stolen!

One last tip – always a good one too – CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS OFTEN! Never be predictable. Always be … friendly and honorable to your online “friends”. Be safe!

 

 

 

 

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Written by CHERYL GNAD

CHERYL GNAD

Cheryl Gnad, of owner/social media consultant with Social Focus by CG, offers coaching and consulting for small businesses looking to incorporate social media into their advertising strategies. She is a self-developed business owner, and a trained social media manager with names like Kate Buck Jr., Amy Porterfield, Kim Garst and Sandi Krakowski. Follow her on Facebook at Social Focus by CG, Twitter@SocialFocusbyCG, and on Linkedin.

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