Top 6 Social Media Privacy Mistakes
Approximately 70% of our nation’s adults can be found on some social media platform, however, most are not privy to the most up-to-date privacy settings and controls. Yet after a plethora of colossal information leaks, as well as Fakebook’s Cambridge Analytica incident, some people proceed to distribute important, personal and private data that others can use against them.
Here are six of the most prominent social media privacy mistakes that individuals make on a daily basis—their consequences—as well as some suggestions for managing your data securely online.
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1. Distributing Personally Identifiable Information
Personally identifiable information (PII) includes all types of information that another individual can utilize to distinguish who you are—this can be accomplished on its own or consolidated with other data available on the internet.
Here are a few examples:
- Email accounts
- Driver’s license number
- Social Security number (SSN)
- Banking Information
- International I.D. (Passports)
- Online Login Credentials
- Hospital & Medical Records
According to a survey conducted by Experian, Americans average posting roughly 3-4 of delicate data online for the world to see. Many people think that their subpar credit or low income decrease their chance of becoming a victim of identity theft. Nevertheless, this is an excellent argument because—everyone is vulnerable to these crimes.
In particular, the identical study revealed that more than 50% of the participants had either underwent identity theft personally or had a close friend or family member who did.
Criminals can collect an overabundance of information if they know where to look. This can be a name or birthdate. This alone exposed even the best and most prestigious individuals to different types of identity fraud. This would include gaining additional credit, tax filing, theft of statewide benefits and all of your financial and banking accounts.
Furthermore, cyber criminals can keep records of what they discover on social media in order to launch social attacks upon you to gain even more knowledge. This is why posting too much about yourself online and on social media is so dangerous.
Since your PII is so important to offenders, they are searching online 24/7 for whatever they can find. On the other hand, you must think again before posting a photo of your car for example and forgetting to alter or blur the license plate.
2. Geolocation & Geotagging
Tagging your photos with a geolocation tag is a great idea if you want your pictures to get noticed by more social media users in that specific region. However, if not done carefully you can potential disclose more than what you bargained for.
For illustration, what you post a geotagged photo onto your social media accounts it allows a large group of strangers to pinpoint your exact location. This can be great when you are actually looking to meet new people, however, if you do this at home and a criminal sees, now you’re in trouble.
Likewise, by publishing geotagged images of your everyday habits and routines, you are allowing strangers, data-gathering firms, and anyone else the ability to track your every movement.
Additionally, criminals who see geotagged images when you are on vacation know that they have loads of time to take all your valuables without worrying about you returning any time soon.
80% of burglars glance at social media when choosing what house to rob.
3. Proper Use of Social Media Privacy Settings
As the amount of information privacy scandals proceed to rise, most Americans are not being proactive about ensuring their privacy is protecting them as much as they could be.
Roughly 44% of Americans are regularly taking advantage of the privacy settings within their social media accounts and mobile apps. Most of the time users click agree because reading the terms & conditions, leaving them vulnerable to various cyber-attacks.
At the very least, you need to protect your phone number, birth date, email accounts, and geolocation in your social media profiles. This helps to reduce the risks of becoming a sufferer of identity theft.
Additionally, we recommend that you adjust the privacy settings on each social platform in order to refine who can actually view your posts.
- Facebook’s Basic Privacy Settings & Tools: This page tells you how to modify your privacy frameworks for current and past publications online. You can also discover how to form lists to block specific individuals or audiences as a whole.
- Twitter’s Safety and Security: This page has all the data you’ll want to improve the secrecy of your social media profiles. For instance, you can discover how to stop someone from researching you through your phone number or email address. You can also explore how to check if your posts are visible to others.
- Instagram’s Privacy and Safety Center: This page guides you on how to switch your account to private and how to modify who can see your photos. There are many directions depending on whether you are working on Instagram through a browser or the Instagram app on a smart device.
Still, it is imperative to keep in mind that even if you have switched your social media accounts to “private,” you do not know who viewed or copied your personal information before you went private.
Your relatives and friends may eventually share your posts with someone you are not familiar with—this is usually done on social media or by word of mouth.
This means that your private data may still find itself in the wrong hands. No matter how cautious you are.
4. Do You Know Who Your Social Media Friends Are?
Receiving and accepting a friend request from another individual that you don’t know presents that person with access to your information and interests. All the personal information that might contain on your Facebook is now available to a complete stranger. If you are on Facebook, it also lets them send you a message. Cybercriminals can utilize Messenger to transfer phishing information.
Befriending people you never met also increases your vulnerability. When it comes to courtship scammers who try to coerce you into giving them money or delicate private knowledge about yourself.
An added issue of approving these friend requests is that it makes your profile more exposed to being cloned or copied.
Have you ever received a friend request from an individual that you are now friends with? These requests stem from criminal scanning to expand their networks by employing fake accounts “borrowed” from real users.
If you ever noticed a fictitious account please report it to Support right away:
- Facebook: Facebook’s reporting mechanism allows you to report a fraudulent profile or page.
- Twitter: Report any account professing to be you or someone else that you know.
- Instagram: If you suspect your account has been hacked or someone is impersonating you, fill out this form.
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5. Granting Access For Games & Surveys
To guarantee that you are not inadvertently transmitting your personal information, you ought to think again prior to using any online quizzes (Buzzfeed) or engaging with games on your smart device(s).
Enjoyable quizzes such as “Let Us Guess Your Age” “What Game of Thrones Character Are You?” or “What Career Fits Your Personality” are frequently just ways of collecting your personal data and passing it off to data-mining firms.
This popular quiz, “What Disney Character Are You?” for instance, tricks you into giving up your name and date of birth. Identity thieves can connect this with other information in order to steal your identification.
One representative of an organization clandestinely hijacking your information through online quizzes is that of Ukranian cyber thieves working for Cambridge Analytica. The 2 individuals collected personal data on more than 60,000 American users through quizzes like “What Country Would You Rule?” and “What Is Your Spirit Animal?”
By partaking in the quizzes, users unknowingly give forth personal information such as their name, picture, as well as age. These sites also gave cybercriminals access to their friend’s list.
While not every online quiz gathers and sells your information. It’s always a great plan to understand each quiz’s terms of service before you engage and turn over any information. That way, you can fully understand what sort of data the company receives and how it uses it.
Also, you need to keep in mind what sorts of questions a quiz is asking. Even the most ordinary data can be dangerous if it is the answer to a well-known security question such as “What was the first of your first pet?”
6. Keeping Personal Data Private
Apart from bypassing the five mistakes noted above, there are several ways you can keep your personal information more secure on social media.
- Utilize two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication—such as a one-time phrase transmitted to your phone, this adds an additional tier of protection for the login process. Minimizing the possibilities of another individual hacking into your account. In particular, a Symantec study reveals that two-factor authentication could’ve stopped 80% of all data infringements.
- Don’t forget to log out if you ever have to have to use a public computer. If you are using a public pc, you should never leave before ensuring that your successful log out and close any programs that may contain personal information. This includes your social media accounts. Forgetting to do so makes your account extremely open to be taken over by the next person that using that specific computer
- Make sure that you devise a strong, unique password for each of your social accounts: Gone are the days where you could simply make your password ‘1234’. Think of something that nobody can guess. Instead of making your password ‘password9559’ try ‘PaSsWoRD955(‘ or something that will be nearly impossible to guess. To better track, your passwords across all of your social media profiles create a spreadsheet that is password protected. This way you will only have to remember one password, you can even add an additional preventive measure and implement two-way verification as previously noted.
- Never use any part of your username within your password directly. It may seem like an easy way to remember it, however, you are making hackers jobs 100% easier. Even worse, if another person steals your social login credentials, they can also obtain access to all of your third-party accounts as well. Scary.
More Information on Social Media Privacy Mistakes
If you fall into one of the categories above and have unfortunately used one of the six social media privacy mistakes mentioned above and are still struggling to restore your reputation we can help.
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