Social media has become very significant in the social lives and even the professional lives of those people who are techno-savvy. Discussions on the social lives as well as careers have been taken away from the face to face meetings to the social media arena.
The Bureau of Justice and Statics has published that over 18 million US residents alone, were victims of identity theft in the year 2018. Privacy has been a rare commodity more especially when it comes to personal details that are availed to social sites.
A search on pipl.com reveals that a number of companies claim possession of personal information of people, on their families, addresses, and even contacts without the consent of those people.
It has been found that these companies want to know as much information as possible from one so that they can sell you products and services through advertisements that are relevant to the demographics they get from your personal information.
These companies are making a kill, through the information that they get about us, minus our consent, or we give consent to them unknowingly and they are minting dry the companies they do a sale for courtesy of our information availed online. Personal information is private and valuable and the following steps should be taken to protect it.
We should be very particular with our social media profiles and ensure that they are barren from our personal information. In any case, the people who matter to us have access to our birth dates and our addresses and if need be, they should get the same from us directly and not through our social media platforms. We should be cognizant of which information to share publicly and which one not to, as well as which information should be accessed by applications.
This is important so that you limit sharing more than what is needed, and adjusting once privacy settings so that when partner sites visit, they should get only what is necessary. This is meant to limit the obtrusive nature of the partner sites to information that they may use for their own benefit minus your consent.
Passwords normally give access to the accounts held by an individual and they should be strong combining words, numbers (Upper case and lower case letters), and special characters that are easy for you to remember but hard for someone to guess. Common password elements like birthdates, anniversaries, and names of children and even pets should be avoided.
They should be memorized and not written anywhere and avoid using the same password for different sites, because if one is breached, then the criminal may proceed to login to access a number of your accounts. If using a public computer always ensure that it does not store your email address and password and ensure you log out once one has finished the activities of the day.
When befriending people online, ensure that you know them and those are their right accounts because there are criminals who create accounts with names of celebrities and politicians with the aim of defrauding them.
A study done by Cloudmark in 2017, found out that nearly 40% of Facebook profiles are fake and created by malware writers and spammers. This also includes being choosy on whom to share your social security number with unless it is your bank or credit bureau or some company that wants to do a background check with you. This will limit instances of fraudsters getting access to your credit card information, and creating some debt in your name.
Once information is shared online, it is no longer private. Personal information, for example, the date of birth and address can be used for a variety of scams and even identity theft, and one should be very careful about posts that may lead one to access that. When people post events, vacations, and even trips online, this creates opportunities for buglers to break into your house, or even kidnappers to follow you there.
Many scams and malware are spread through links and rogue applications. Many of the applications are normally granted permission to post items, and without you knowing you click on them, install them to your personal computer or phone and in the long run, they get access to all the information in that gadget including passwords and links to online banking.
It has been found out that software applications like games and quizzes that are available for download to run on the site, may not undergo any type of security approval, verification or even review.
Cybercriminals are cognizant of this and they can leverage on this compromising the information under their access.
The personal computer that one has and the phone should have a password when waking up from sleep or boots up. You may be trusting the people you live with, but at times some of this gadgets may be stolen, may land in the hands of criminals or the people we are living with may be ignorant of this safety measures, more especially children and may expose the information on the devices to unscrupulous people.
All computers and mobile devices should be loaded with anti-malware applications and software to keep away criminals from accessing your personal data.
Every major web browser has the option of enabling a private browser so that one can deny physical access to personal computers and phones. This application also deletes cookies, temporary internet files as well as the browsing history when one closes the window. This will bar online advertising companies from accessing your personal information from social sites.
It is evident that privacy and security have a close relationship and when one is upheld, the other will fix itself. Other ways of ensuring privacy also include disabling the activity status so that you confuse those that do not mean good with your privacy. It also keeps off those friends who are monitoring your every step, wants to know when you were last active if you have received their messages, and if you have read the messages.
It is also very important to be selective with your audience, to ensure who sees what and who doesn’t see what.