Social Networking Security and Privacy By Gabe Landau

Since the creation of social networking websites, privacy has been the bane of their security and management. Social networking sites make it easier for hackers to retrieve personal information from people, including name, email address, home address, phone number, credit cards, etc. However, there are ways to make these social networks safer.

Passwords

Perhaps the most important (and easiest) way to protect your self is a strong password. Many websites and articles have suggested that a password be 8+ characters, contain uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers. Password should be different for each social network site you use! This is very important, because if one account becomes compromised, the others will be safe. Never tell your password to anyone, or write them down digitally. The safest way to store a password is still pen and paper. Also, try to avoid using common words, or things that have signficant meaning to you, it’s the first thing that hackers will try. The most common password today is password and 123456. Many programs today can hack these password by guessing, or “bruteforcing” in under an hour. Keeping a strong password for all your networks is a vital part in keeping yourself secure. A good website to tell you if your password is secure or not is http://howsecureismypassword.net/.

Social Network Privacy Options

Many, if not all, networks these days have security features and privacy options built in. Facebook, for example, has a menu item titled “Privacy Shortcuts” which contains options such as “Who can see my stuff?”, “Who can contact me?”, “How do I stop someone from bothering me?” and some more advanced options such as SMS verification. Twitter has options to protect tweets so only people that you confirm can see them. Using these options can help you to protect yourself against strangers and hackers.

Your Social Network Persona

Choosing your posts carefully, reading through them to make sure you’ve written something that you don’t mind everyone seeing, and making sure pictures you post are safe and clean are all huge parts of making a social network more secure. Colleges, employers, everyone you can imagine have access to these social networks. They go through them with a fine toothed comb to make sure you are a good candidate for a position. Pictures of you from a party holding an alcoholic beverage will not go over well. Keeping these sorts of things off of your networks will play a big part in making sure  that you are safe and secure.

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