Internet safety can be a daunting subject. We saw in our earlier blog post that there can be various risks online with social media websites being targeted by cybercriminals because of the vast database of users active on them. So what steps can we take to better protect our sensitive information and reputation online? Consider the following points next time you go online….

Safer Social Networking Blog
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Adjust your security settings

Start by checking your security settings on each social media profile. Go to your profile and select settings > privacy settings. Here you will be able to select who your profile will be accessible to. You can also change who sees your photos, comments, and posts. This is not the be all and end all of social media security; however it should be the first port of call.

Never reveal your location

Never reveal your current location online, and make sure to remove geotags (these record the location where you took the photo) when taking pictures from your mobile device. These can be turned off in the privacy settings menu on your phone. Revealing your current location poses several obvious security risks such as; letting thieves know when you are out of the house, making your location know to potential stalkers, and when selling valuable items online – geotags reveal the exact location of the item and this can be exploited by criminals.

Are you posting Personally Identifiable Information?

Never reveal or submit Personally Identifiable Information (PII) online. This can include your full date of birth, National Insurance (NI) number, your address and other contact details. Some people do not reveal their full or real names online. The more you reveal, the easier it becomes to use your details in cybercrime. You should avoid posting information that is frequently used in passwords or security questions, such as your mother’s maiden name, or the name of your child or first pet.

Think before you post

Stop online oversharing. Comments or posts made by you become a part of your ‘digital trail’ and can affect your online reputation and even future employability. TMI (too much information) can be problematic in many ways. It is easily and often unwittingly done because social media gives us an instant, but often remote, community to connect with. It may sometimes be difficult to gauge how many people are actually able to view the things we post online or to interpret their response. Because we’re not communicating face-to-face we cannot read those physical cues, such as body language, which alert us to possible TMI. The simple solution to this often overlooked problem of the digital age is to think before you post. Sadly, the internet doesn’t have a permanent delete button, so consider these points before you post: are you about to share something that you might regret in the future? Would you feel comfortable about your family, employers, and even strangers viewing this information? Oversharing can take place about many areas of your life, be it TMI about your past, your employment past and present, your family, relationships or daily experiences. Accidental oversharing about your employer can cause significant problems, not only with your current employer but also for future ones who may turn to your social media profiles to gauge your suitability for the job.

See also Safer social networking: Part 1 & Safer social networking: Part 3

[ Emma, Library Assistant ]