Have you ever held back from considering just how much information you unknowingly reveal online? In Some cases, giving personal details is inevitable, like when you’re making any online purchases, you will have to provide detailed information like your name, address, contact information, email, etc. But in those moments when it’s not as unavoidable, it’s necessary to be mindful of what you share. Lately, privacy concerns related to social media have been a burning issue in public as well as at the political level. Now, social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc. to name a few have become digital billboards for users. Here people share news, photos, and daily updates about their lives without any concern regarding their privacy.
The huge inflow of personal information attracts unwanted viewers beyond one’s circle of friends and family. Someone somewhere may be keeping an eye on your life for reasons you are not aware of. While social media has become an integral part of our lives, it also exposes our data and personal information to the world. This calls for the importance of cybersecurity and caution regarding the type and amount of data that we share online. It makes the job of hackers and cybercriminals much easier when they have loads of your personal information. Maintaining absolute online privacy is increasingly becoming more challenging. However, it is not unattainable. By following a series of simple steps, you can safeguard your pieces of information online.
How Can You Protect Yourself Online?
Social media has become a global connecting bridge, which has made it easier than ever for people to share their lives with people all across the world. This has made it much harder to maintain online privacy. So how can you protect yourself online, here are some of the ways :
Secure Your Account
Your account on any social media platform is your online identity so it’s your responsibility to secure your account. Make sure your password is the key to all of your personal information, make it long and complex, avoid common words, and do not use the same passwords on all platforms.
Secure Your Network
Your Wi-Fi connection is the hub that allows you to connect your device. So it is essential to protect your network connection. Here are steps that you can take to enhance your network security:
- Change the default passwords
- Download the latest OS (operating system)
- Change Network name(SSID)
Be Sure To Create A Backup
Backup is a good practice that ensures data security and information on your computer and phone. This way, if anything were supposed to happen, you could easily recover your information.
- Local Backup
Here, we tend to rely on external hard drives, USB flash drives, and NAS(Network-Attached Storage) devices to back up our information.
- Cloud Backup
Cloud backup services like Google Drive and iCloud are used. This type of backup is much more convenient and easily accessible on all devices.
Stay current with software updates
Do not forget to install new updates on your phone and computers. Most hackers take advantage of already-known vulnerabilities so be sure to patch your operating system. If possible, also secure your PC with antivirus software for cyber protection from malware and spyware that collects data like credit card information in the background.
Top 7 Ways To Secure Your Personal Information On Social Media Networks
Making social media privacy is our main concern. Let us look at how can we actually protect our privacy on social media:
Evaluate and Regulate Privacy Statements
All the websites and apps that we use on or off the internet provide a privacy statement that shows how the data information that we put will be handled. So before we make any account on any platform it is necessary for us to give our time on privacy terms. Check for the default settings for every social media you register to. Some of the default settings and privacy settings may allow third-party online users to access your information. Modify the default privacy settings as per your needs and necessaries, this way the amount of information that is shared with other people can be controlled. This allows you to control the transferring of PII(Personal Identification Number ) with other users.
Avoid Giving Excessive Personal Information
Consider the type of personal information you reveal on your profile. Always be careful to not share details like workplace history, bank account information, or your views and opinions. Providing such information will make you vulnerable to scams. Maintain social media privacy by only accepting requests from individuals you know in real life. Avoid using your social media accounts to log in to other external websites. This way you restrict your data and information to be used in all the platforms.
Use a Stronger Password With 2FA(Two-Factor Authentication)
A robust password serves as a first line of defense for cyber protection. Imagine the amount of personal information that your email id has. The most effective password is a complex set of numbers, symbols, and letters. Enabling two-factor authentication(2FA) helps to add an extra layer of protection for your account even in the worst case where you have shared the passwords. This includes OPT and verification mail.
Geotagging means giving information about your geographical location to various types of social media in the form of photos, videos, or social media posts. This allows the attackers to exactly pinpoint your location. It is mostly done automatically by most of the apps that we use regularly. It raises privacy concerns and data leaks. Therefore, we need to be careful about when and where we are enabling geotagging and how to have access to the data provided.
Be Cautious Of Oversharing And Followers/friends
There is no obligation on you to approve all ” friends” or “follow” requests on social media. Be very cautious when considering following requests or friends. Prior to accepting the request, do some research on the person and understand their identity. It is essential to distinguish fake accounts from real ones. Facebook reportedly deleted around 1.5 billion fake accounts in the time period from July to September 2022. Know the type of content you are sharing and the amount of details that you are giving on the internet. Restrain from giving your personal views and ideas on any matter on the internet.
Be Vigilant of Clickbait And Third-Party Apps
Social media apps do not usually take any responsibility for third-party applications. Clickbaits like “comment below to see the magic” or “discover which celebrity shares your birthday”. Should be handled cautiously. These are often designed to collect your PII(Personal Identification Information) and misuse it. To promote data privacy, it is advised to make fewer connections with third-party applications.
Engage In Anonymous Web Browsing
Data privacy and data security are crucial as both web browsers and internet services provide and exploit our online activities. Attackers and scammers can get access to our online history. For security purposes, a virtual private network(VPN) is a valuable tool. It encrypts our internet history, making it difficult for attackers. This is especially needed when using any public network where scammers can easily access our data. Also, it is advised to employ Safe Browsing tools to warn us about fake websites and click-baits.
Why Should We Care About Our Social Media Privacy?
The Internet is the hub of all kinds of people. Ever since its invention, it has made it easier than ever to share information worldwide. This has created a global village. The concern for social media privacy has become one of the burning issues. Regularly, people update their lives, and share personal information, voluntarily or involuntarily. This has resulted in privacy concerns among the users. So what are the privacy concerns?
Here are some of the Social media privacy concerns:
Scammers can steal someone’s identity just with the publicly available information on the internet. They can use the information to fraud the people using your name and use it for their gains. Therefore it is always advised to keep the PII(personal Identification Information) secure and private.
Young people are often the victims of cyberbullying. The attacker manipulates the victims to share their personal information, usually private photos and videos. After they acquire such items, they bribe the victims to give them as they demand. This can cause severe depression and mental health issues in the youths.
Any kind of information can spread like wildfire on the internet. Scammers intentionally use faulty information about popular topics to gain traffic on their websites. As there is no such monetary body to regulate such frauds, people often use this tactic and gain popularity.
In conclusion, In today’s world maintaining absolute privacy on social media can be impossible as more and more everyday activities we do regularly are going online. According to experts from CDR Engineers Australia, selecting proper social media platforms and using precautions can help limit the amount of personal information that we provide on the internet. It is up to us that we become mindful of our activities online and maintain integrity in our work. As the world is becoming more digital our PII(personal identification information) is being shared online. We need to be extra careful about our data security and be aware of data threats. Additionally, know how we can safeguard our PII and data from scammers and attackers online.
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