At the beginning of this year, we discussed some online security measures ordinary Internet users can use immediately to protect their computers and the data they contain from predatory hackers. Social networks are increasingly being exploited to commit ID theft and fraud, so it's time to add a few more tips. A few good ideas (with notes from us below) from TechNewsWorld:
* "Think about keeping some control over the information you post. Consider restricting access to your page to a select group of people -- for example, your friends from school "
It's important to note, though, that privacy restrictions on sites like Facebook can be gotten around fairly easily. I "friend" your contact, then I "friend" you after leaving a helpful message, and now I get to see everything you post.
* Consider not posting your photo. It can be altered and broadcast in ways you may not be happy about. If you do post one, ask yourself whether it's one your mom would display in the living room.
Also keep in mind that people can tag photos of you without your knowledge. There's no way to prevent it. The only way to deal with it is to check all photos tagged with your name and "untag" yourself. You can do that on sites like Facebook, although that won't work with Flickr. You would have to ask the owner of the photo to remove it (or call the cops, if the image of you is so embarrassing or incriminating that it rises to the level of harrassment).
* Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If you feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, tell an adult you trust and report it to the police and the social networking site. You could end up preventing someone else from becoming a victim.
Of course, adults can be cyber-stalked as well. Don't stand for it. Law enforcement (and civil litigation lawyers) are increasingly cracking down on this kind of activity.
If you have questions about keeping yourself or members of your organization safe online, or possibly require security awareness training, contact the web security experts.
Vaclav Vincalek September 2nd, 2009 10:00:00 AM