The subject of security on social networking sites is of course quite complicated. However there are some basic problems and mistakes that people use – here’s some of the important ones that you should try to avoid.
Using the same password – it doesn’t matter that you’ve got a super secure password consisting of twenty characters. If you use this very same password on every site you use, you’re taking a huge risk. The top sites like Facebook and Twitter may have pretty secure and robust security but many smaller sites don’t. The cyber criminals and hackers know that people tend to use the same usernames and password on all their sites. So they hack the Justin Bieber forum and steal all the usernames and passwords – then try them out on Paypal/Facebook and Online banking sites. Many of the times they’ll be successful – change your password across different sites.
Don’t post too much information – announcing to your three thousand facebook ’friends’ might sound a nice idea but it’s filled with problems. Criminals look for opportunities online and even sell this information on. What you’re really doing is saying your house will be empty for the next two weeks, a perfect opportunity for a house burglar. Also beware of putting too much personal information online – birthdays, addresses, telephone numbers all can be used by identity thieves.
Information can stay online for ever – think hard before you post that update or Tweet. Be especially careful when posting when you’ve had a few drinks or are angry for some reason. Think before you press submit – that post or Tweet could be up there for years for everyone to see.
There are all sorts of danger online but obviously the internet is about communication as well. It may be worth considering using a proxy or VPN service to protect your identity and location when online. The added benefit of these is that you can actually use these to access content online too – for example look at this post – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/ you can use them to access the BBC Iplayer abroad or Hulu from outside the USA. This is because it hides your real IP address which these sites use to block you.
The world of privacy and IP address manipulation: IP Cloaker