Last Updated on March 25, 2021 by Staff Writer
Although social media exploded and spread all over the world, it has its dangers. In this article, I give you 10 tips to protect yourself from social media attacks.
Background of social media
The internet gave birth to social media, which provides a platform for people to connect and interact.
I remember when I started using Facebook around 2010, there was this ecstatic feeling after meeting old high-school friends on the internet.
The technology was revolutionary and at some point Facebook was the most popular social media platform, before WhatsApp took the crown.
For a list of all the popular social media platforms (there are about 95), see this article on how you can delete yourself from the internet.
Social media raises privacy and security concerns because a lot of personal information is availed to the public on the platforms.
Although one can control the amount of information accessible to the public, private companies that run the services have 100% access to all your data.
They can easily sell that data to third parties without your consent.
That means you need to be aware of measures to protect yourself from privacy and security vulnerabilities of social media.
Use a VPN to prevent hackers from breaching your home network and to hide your traffic from interested parties.
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Now, lets look at social media tips you need to take seriously
What measures should you take?
1. Strong login protection
Nowadays, with proliferation of hacker activity, it is strongly advised to use a strong password with at least 12 characters.
This password must include numbers, letters, special characters and at least a cap.
Obviously, this is taxing to the brain if you try to generate and memorize such a password, that’s why you should use a password manager.
A password manager automatically creates a strong password for you and stores it in a safe vault.
I use NordPass because it has all the features needed in a password manager.
It uses XChaCha20 encryption to keep your password secure, which is why I strongly recommend you to use it.
In addition to using a strong password, you need to enable 2-factor authentication if its there in the settings.
This adds an extra layer of security because if hackers get hold of your password, they still need to complete 2-FA.
Therefore, your account is protected from unauthorised access but it’s not the holy grail of account security. (Read about sim card swapping to find out why)
2. Change privacy settings
Before you start uploading everything about your life on social media, make sure you have checked the privacy settings.
This allows you to choose who should view your personal data on the social media platform.
Sharing your information with the wrong audience may attract cyberbullies, hackers and other parties with malicious intentions.
Platforms like Facebook allow you to be able to choose whether to share your data with no-one, friends only, friends of friends or with the public.
Make sure the settings are configured to suit your needs and be aware of the implications of each option.
3. Approach social media with the right mindset
Interactive social media platforms back up all the data that is shared.
Make sure you don’t share sensitive content on social media because it may come back to haunt you.
Employers can see what you upload and develop a negative perspective if it rubs them the wrong way.
If you are not comfortable sharing something publicly, don’t upload it on your social media page.
4. Keep some things to yourself
Sharing every aspect of your life from date of birth, pet’s name, residence, street, your current location etc is a recipe for inviting identity thieves.
In addition, robbers can study your routine and raid your house when you are not there.
Even the courts can use your social media status updates against you.
It is important to keep some things secret from the internet.
Selfies can reveal valuable items in the background, like jewelry, credit cards, location and other pieces that can be put together by thieves.
5. Hide your email and phone number
The importance of email security has been highlighted in one article.
If your email is visible to the public, you become a victim of email phishing, trolling and other unsolicited messages.
Hackers add your email to their database of stolen emails, which become part of brute-force attacks on online accounts.
Similarly, you need to hide your phone number.
With your number, scammers can call, reach you on messaging apps like WhatsApp, in order to lure you into their traps.
6. Don’t use social login
I’m sure you have come across sites where you can register using social media like Facebook.
Well, you have to avoid that because once you grant a third party site access to your social media information, you never know how much data is accessed.
Remember, private companies have a habit of selling your personal data to advertisers.
By utilizing your preferences on social media, it’s easy to advertise the right product or service to you.
If you have used social login before, revoke access to the platforms where you feel it’s no longer necessary.
7. Limit the number of permissions
When installing a social media app, take note of the number of permissions you grant.
If you grant all permissions every time you install an app, you risk installing a social media app that monitors every aspect of your phone.
Some apps want to access your camera, contacts, SMS messages and more, which raises privacy concerns.
This information is valuable to the service providers and they may sell it to third parties, even manufacturers of mobile devices.
8. Strip a photo of its metadata before you upload
Did you know that when you take a photo with your mobile device, the image has metadata attached to it that includes:
- Type of mobile device
Make sure you remove this metadata and you can do it on this site.
This means the photo you upload has no data that ties back to you.
9. Use false details
In some cases, you only want to watch exciting videos, participate in groups and other activities that don’t need you to reveal your actual identity.
In that case, you can use a false name so that no-one identifies you.
- This is not an opportunity to start trolling people, but a way to protect your identity.
10. Take a break
If you have many social media accounts and you are overwhelmed, it’s probably best to take a break.
- Don’t worry, you won’t die!
Closing social media accounts is one way to increase productivity if you encounter negative events linked to its use.
There is no privacy once your information is on social media, so by closing social media accounts you get better online security.
Use social media with the above tips in mind and since it’s relatively new, there are ongoing studies on the full impact of social media.
In addition to following these measures, increase your online security by using a VPN.
This encrypts all your traffic and hides it from your ISP, government or hackers.
- At a glance, these are the top VPNs that we recommend:
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