Social media is one of the trickiest places to stay safe, it is also why the number one place criminals use these days, to trick you out of your personal and financial information. This is why it is also one of the places where knowing how to stay safe, will have one of the biggest impacts.
One of the greatest parts of social media, is also what makes it so vulnerable to attack, the ability to connect with almost anyone. Be it that fling from the bar last night, a long lost relative or even a friend you lost contact with years ago, social media gives you the ability to track them down and vice versa. This also brings us to the first issue with social media, literally anyone can search for criteria about you and find you, this also applies for personal information, for people who want to find a juicy target.
Just like we talked about in the most important security feature, apps and by extension social media, have access to a ton of information about you, also information you probably aren’t even aware you handed over. All of which can be used against you when doing a search for you on social media or even when just visiting your social media profile. The reason for this is that not only does social media grab as much information about you and sell it to the highest bidder, they also use this information for AD revenue.
The biggest issue with AD revenue today, is that in order to stay competitive, companies have to use your personalised AD profile, in order to target AD’s that are relevant to you. You most likely don’t really have a problem with this and also like that AD’s are actually of items you want to buy, but the kicker is that this means a bunch of your personal information basically has to float around with you on the internet and that this info can then be stolen and abused.
So how do you actually protect yourself from all of this? Basically the only way to 100% safeguard yourself is to remove and delete all social media accounts and their associated information. This is not really an option though, as we do live in a society where social media is the new norm and we kind of have to use it to be able to function. There is however a few ways you can make the issue much much smaller and in some cases even almost stop it entirely.
The first way is to never ever ever connect with people unless you know who they are and/or what they want, on most social media, connecting with people gives them access to a lot of your personal information and even in some cases your friends personal information as well. It was used several times in the past for home invasions and even spreading viruses onto peoples phones.
The second way is to limit the information you have on your social media and also check the privacy settings and settings in general, to make sure that only people who are supposed to, can view your personal information. Remember that criminals can also use your friends profiles or even a friendship with a friend to get to you, so keep that in mind when setting up the privacy settings. The importance of this also extends to what you actually put up on social media, putting up vacation photos or tagging yourself on location while you are there, will give potential burglars or robbers your precise location and make their jobs a lot easier.
The third way is to limit exposure in apps, restrict access to features like your location on apps and if you rarely use apps or they are not super important, remove them from your phone entirely and use the website. A lot of social media will make it difficult for you to use their website on your phone though, with the obvious reason being that if they can get you to install the app, they can mine your private data. But mostly once you get the hang of it, most social media websites work just fine on phones and in some cases, turning on desktop mode in the settings of your browser can restore anything you feel you are missing.