Keeping your social media accounts safe

In today’s cyber world, social networking sites – or as they are also known as social media – are commonly used as online human communication platforms across the globe.

Accessible through all kinds of devices, such applications serve as a means for people to build social relations based upon common, shared interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections. Typical examples include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram; among many others. Their use is straight forward, however if not used with prudence and with care, they may serve as means for undesirable consequences.

Like any other software application account, a personal social media account needs protection to prevent eventual perpetrators from hacking it. The first line of protection is to apply a strong password to the account. As a rule of thumb, a strong password should not be less than eight characters long, and be made up of numbers, symbols and lower and upper-case characters. Following password protection as well as the use of firewall and anti-virus software, one needs to ensure security and privacy configuration of the account.

Social networking sites are also likely to include fake profiles. An image online search of a picture of a suspected fake profile may reveal surprising results. Therefore, communication or access on personal social networking accounts to unknown individuals is not recommended.

When in public places, connections to unprotected Wi-Fi hot spots are to be used with caution, especially where sensitive data is involved, given that such facilities may be easy prey for hackers relative to more protected ones.

Another risk of unsolicited connections is that resulting from use of a computer that is available for public access.  Questions may arise of whether it has adequate security such as virus protection to say the least. In such cases, it is also recommended not to allow a Web browser to store a social networking account’s password, given that the facility is shared by various users.

Social networking sites are a great means of allowing rapid human communication and sharing, which may often not be physically easy or possible. However, prudence and caution, apart from the use of secure technical measures are always necessary prerequisites for one to ensure personal protection and safety from other social networking site users who may be of a bad intent. The basic protection on a personal social networking account is ultimately oneself!

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