Social media allows us to stay connected, but also comes with risks like identity theft, cyberbullying, and predators. According to 2022 research by Norton, 37% of social media users worldwide have been victims of online crime. By following some key safety tips, you can help protect yourself and your family while enjoying your favorite sites.
Practice Strong Password Hygiene
Cybercriminals actively try to hack social media accounts to gather personal information and financial data. You can fortify your accounts by using strong, unique passwords for each platform. Consider using a trusted password manager like NordPass or 1Password to securely generate and store passwords. Enabling two-factor authentication also adds an extra layer of security.
According to cybersecurity firm SpyCloud, reused credentials were behind 93% of compromised accounts in 2021. Using a password manager and multifactor authentication makes you far less vulnerable to account takeovers.
Be Wary of Links and Downloads
Links and files shared via social media messages and posts could contain malware designed to infect your device. Blindly clicking unfamiliar links also makes you extremely vulnerable to phishing scams aimed at stealing your personal information. It‘s best to avoid clicking on questionable links and immediately downloading files that seem suspicious.
If you‘re concerned your device may have been infected with malware, use a trusted antivirus program like Norton 360 to scan your device fully. Catching and removing malware quickly can prevent extensive damage.
Limit Personal Information Sharing
Oversharing personal details like your home address, phone number, birthday, and even your current location on social media makes identity theft much easier for cybercriminals. To stay safer, avoid posting too much identifiable information publicly on your accounts. Consider using nicknames rather than full real names where possible. Also, judiciously decline friend requests from people you don‘t know, as this provides cybercriminals with an easy gateway to gather intel on you.
Location tagging posts also reveals precisely where you live, work, and visit regularly to strangers. Take time to inspect your settings and consider disabling location tagging features entirely.
Separate Personal and Professional Accounts
It‘s wise digital hygiene to keep your professional social media presence completely separate from personal accounts. This makes it far harder for sophisticated hackers to obtain enough background information on you to launch successful phishing attacks or steal your identity.
Use your business email address to register professional accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and any other platforms you use for work purposes. Never mix business content with your own personal posts and profiles. Segmentation helps protect your privacy and your company‘s security.
Review Privacy Settings
Consistently review and adjust your privacy settings on every social media platform you use to limit who can see your posted content. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and others all allow you to customize privacy settings and choose more private options to reduce visibility.
Restricting visibility to friends only rather than keeping your entire profile public ensures random strangers can‘t analyze your posts for personal details to exploit in identity theft schemes.
Be Extra Cautious with Kids
Children require added vigilance when using social media given their natural openness and trust in others. On platforms that offer parental controls like Instagram and TikTok, ensure you activate and configure these settings for your kids‘ accounts.
Make children‘s social media profiles private by default whenever possible, and monitor pending friend requests to vet who is attempting to interact with your child online. Apps like Zigazoo are designed with kids‘ safety specifically in mind and allow close parental supervision.
Use End-to-End Encryption Messaging
For interpersonal communication via social platforms, prioritize apps like Signal and Telegram that offer end-to-end encryption. This secure method of transferring information prevents third parties from being able to access messages in transit between sender and recipient.
Telegram also offers self-destructing encrypted Secret Chats. WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default as well. Enabling encryption ensures your private conversations don‘t become public.
Implementing even a few of these tips can dramatically improve your social media safety and digital protection. Protect both yourself and your loved ones by making security best practices a priority on any social platform you use regularly. Stay vigilant for new threats so you can enjoy socializing online safely.