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The do’s and don’ts of social media to keep information secure

29 April, 2022

It doesn’t take an expert to note that social media has become almost totally ubiquitous.


Today, over 58% of the world’s population is using social media. In the UK alone, 77.9% of us are active social media users, spending an average of almost two hours using such services every day.


As we know, where there’s data there are cybercriminals. These individuals are constantly looking for opportunities to take advantage of the vast amounts of information that many of us share without realising the dangers.


The picture isn’t entirely bleak. There are obvious benefits to using social media for businesses, and people enjoy using social media to connect with friends, share their passions and discover new things.


However, if you share personal information on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you should be aware that hackers can use the information. There has also been an increase in cybercriminals hacking accounts and pretending to be the account holder to extort money from friends and family.


To keep your information secure, follow these guidelines:


Do:


Be aware of the privacy settings for each social media platform you use.


Ensure that you understand how your information will be shared before sharing it. For example, you can set your Facebook account to private, so that only people you’ve friended can see your posts and shares.


Use strong passwords for all of your social media accounts.


Avoid using easily guessed words or phrases like your name or birthdate. Alongside strong passwords that use a mixture of random words and numbers, you should never use the same password across all your accounts. Why? Because if a hacker steals the password for one, it instantly grants access to the rest of your accounts too.


Don’t post confidential information on social media.


This, naturally, includes information like your credit card number or home address. However, there are lots of types of information that you might not consider “confidential”.


Checking into locations can reveal information such as your address, so don’t tag locations that could reveal where you live. Don’t add information such as your date of birth, schools you attended or any other personal information on profiles, as these can be used to impersonate you online.


Be cautious about the information you share about others.


Remember, when you post something that includes another person, you’re taking their privacy into your hands. Be aware that anything you post on social media can potentially be seen by anyone, even if you think your account is private.


Think about what you are about to share before you post it, as once it has been online even for a few seconds, any information may have been captured.


Don’t:


Don’t click on links from people you don’t know.


Whilst a link on social media might look safe, an errant click could lead to malicious websites that will steal your information.


Scammers often try to trick you into clicking a link by saying something like ‘look at you in this video’, or point to a great deal on a desirable item to take advantage of your curiosity. Links from unknown sources could contain viruses that will infect your device.


Don’t respond to social media requests for personal information.


Legitimate companies will never ask for this type of information on social media, as they know it is an unsafe way to share information.


If you encounter a request like this, ignore the message and report it within the app as soon as possible. If you suspect this to be a targeted approach report it to your IT team, who can then be on alert for similar attacks.


Don’t add friends on social media who you don’t actually know.


Everyone likes having friends, but when it risks your data security then it’s always worth thinking twice.


Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family and share fun content, but it can also compromise your information, so it is important to always stay vigilant when using social media. Staying up to date with the latest types of scams and understanding what they look like will help ensure you do not put your information at risk.


It’s more than personal data that’s risked, organisational data is risked on social media too.


That’s why thousands of companies choose Bob’s Business to educate their teams on social media usage, boosting their knowledge and empowering teams to protect themselves and your data. Learn more about our social media course here, and view our full course catalogue here.


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