Safety on Social Networking Websites

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Mar 13th, 2015


Social Networking is a global revolution enabling billions of people around the world to stay in touch with each other. These websites, such as, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn etc. are built upon traditional concept of social networking-over internet-to connect with family, friends and professional circle, and share photographs, personal content and experiences. In addition, it is used to meet, chat, share interest, and build romantic and business relationships with new people around the world. Moreover, it is used to keep customers and fans up dated with current activities of a celebrity.
The popularity of these websites is growing, so do the associated risks. As there are millions and millions of people registered on these websites, whom you do not know, it includes hackers, spammers, virus coders, identity thieves, criminal elements and people who like bullying. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to keep yourself safe by taking measures. This article is intended to address this issue and outlines simple things to make you, your family and friends safe.
There are many risks associated with social networking websites. Some of the major risks are discussed below;
Information over Sharing: While creating the profile on social networking websites, the users are required to fill in information, such as, name, address, phone number and location. After creating profile, privacy settings should be set to show information to only specific group of people whom you trust. The problem with sharing your information is that hackers can use that information for identity theft, which is common over social networking websites. It can be done in obvious ways, such as, asking someone’s social security number or in an not so obvious way is by luring a user to click on an infected link that a hacker use to steel your information.
Anonymity: The users should not believe that the person at the other end of the conversation or profile is real and what it looks like over the profile. A cautious approach not to trust whatever the profile says is better to keep yourself safe because of the fact, proven by many real life cases, that it is very easy to pretend to be someone else over social networking website. For example, one of your trusted friend or relative asks to send your bank details. It would be wise not to send this private information over these platforms and a better approach would be to tell him or her in person. In addition, it is likely that the person’s account is being hacked that is asking for such information.
Location Sharing: This is probably one of the most dangerous features of social networking websites to share your whereabouts. In additions, it is also abusing the privacy of other by tagging whom you with. This exposes yourself to be tracked down by predators that can use this tool to monitor your movements. Thus, this feature particularly increases your vulnerability for any bad experience. It is advised not to share your location or even your holiday plans, as it could be an open invitation for thieves that there is no one at your home.
Photographs Sharing: This is one of the most lucrative features of social networking websites. People, especially youth love to exploit this feature to an extent that could be dangerous and problematic. Sharing recent photographs with friends and family in couple of second can be fun. Nevertheless, it is risky as photographs can be tempered and manipulated by using photo-editing tools. It is better not to share your personal photographs in public domain.
Measures: Several measures should be taken that improve your privacy and safety over social networking websites.
• The most obvious one is to use a strong password. Use a combination of small caps and caps lock letters and numbers. Also, it would be better not to use the obvious data, for instance, your date of birth, address, favourite colour etc as your password. Additionally, do not use same password for different emails and change your password periodically.
• Do not click on suspicious emails and links in it. Always type in or use your bookmarks for address of social networking site.
• Try to accept friend requests only from people whom you know. If you are the one who like to socialise on these website, then do not be a victim of sharing over-information.
• Think very carefully before posting anything over social networking websites due to the fact that it would be nearly impossible to remove the information i.e. comment, post, photographs etc. as someone else might have seen it or downloaded in a PC.
• In case you would like to install extra features on your site, go through the privacy setting of third-party application to make sure it will not steal your personal information.
I hope you will take these steps to keep yourself safer online.

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