Social media is a great tool for individuals and businesses, offering ways to connect with family, friends and customers. However, social media platforms also have some drawbacks. Almost two-thirds of social media-using adults in the U.S. report their accounts have been hacked. These attacks put users at risk of having personal information stolen and used maliciously. Although most social media sites are making improvements to their security systems, there are still some personal measures you can take to protect yourself:
- Keep your security software up-to-date. Make sure your web browsers and device operating systems are running the latest versions to help make you less susceptible to viruses and malware.
- Update your privacy settings. Many social media sites have optional settings to help protect your privacy. These optional settings offer strengthened protections over default settings.
- Use strong and unique passwords. Passwords should include more than one word. It helps to use a phrase that is easy to remember. You should also include numbers and symbols. Always use a different password for each social media account.
- Know your connections and friends. If you do not recognize the requester when you receive a request to connect, it is not a good idea to accept. Avoid connecting with strangers and impersonators.
- Beware of links. If you do not trust the sender or the source of the link, delete it. Clicking unsafe links makes you vulnerable to scams, viruses,and ransomware.
- View your profile from a different perspective. To verify that your privacy settings are achieving your desired results, try looking at your profile as an outsider. Logging out and searching for yourself can help determine what other people are able to view. It may also allow you to discover if there are any false accounts made in your name.
- Limit sharing of personal information. Your personal information can be collected and used for malicious purposes. Post only what is necessary.
There is no surefire way to completely shield yourself from the risks of social media, but these tips can help.