Resource Center

Social Media Cybersecurity Safety Tips

Oct 13, 2020 7:00:00 AM

Social media is global. According to the Global Digital Review from 2019, about 45% percent of the world’s population is on some form of social media. That’s almost 4 billion people! Why is that important to know? Even though your social media circle might seem small (certainly much smaller than 4 billion), it shows the vastness of social media platforms, and on the Internet, information can travel virtually at the speed of light. That’s why it is critical you know and understand the gravity of what you post on social media, and how it can impact your online, and physical safety.

Social Media Cybersecurity Tips

Not only is the number of people using social media platforms growing, but also the amount of time people spend on social media. According to Tech Jury, the average person spends 2 hours and 45 minutes a day on social media. Or another way to put it: that’s over 1/3 of the average workday. As time on social media increases, the window for cybersecurity attacks also increases, however, you can keep those threats at bay by surfing and posting on social media correctly and safely.

Don’t Post Personal Information

One of the quickest ways for cybersecurity criminals to get everything they need is to steal your credit card or other personal information. Sometimes you actually give it to them on accident. When it comes to posting pictures, make sure that your credit card, driver’s license or any other personal information isn’t sitting in the background of the picture (and certainly don’t post a plain picture of this information either). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with posting pictures online, just make sure you keep your personal information out of sight.

Sharing personal information doesn’t have to come in the form of posting pictures. You can also share too much information with cybercriminals in your visible profile descriptions. If you publicly display where you work, your date of birth, what high school or college you went to, who your family members are, etc., you might be giving cybercriminals the tools they need to hack your account. This can put your secondary security questions like, “what was your high school mascot?” at risk. If you’ve told the world where you went to high school, that security question isn’t very secure anymore.

What you share online can also impact your physical safety, or the safety of your property and belongings. It’s never a smart idea to tell the world on social media that you are “going out of town for two weeks starting today, and will be without cell service for a much needed vacation.” That can let cybercriminals and other criminals know that:

  • Your house is going to be vacant during a specific time period.
  • Nobody will be able to get a hold of you.

Again, there is nothing wrong with posting about your awesome vacation (preferably after you get back), and letting family and friends know where you are going to be, but don’t use social media to tell them. You’re giving cyber and physical criminals too much information.

Finally, remember that the Internet doesn’t necessarily have a “delete” button. Sure, you can quickly remove a post, but that doesn’t mean that someone didn’t already see it, or screen shot it. Make sure you take time and actually think before you post.

Privacy Settings

Updating your privacy settings can be tedious, but it goes a long way in enhancing your online protection. In your privacy settings, you can update criteria like who sees your posts (private, friends or public). Default settings are usually set to public. We recommend updating that to whatever your comfort level may be. It’s fine to make posts publicly, as long as you are being smart about it. You should also strongly consider disabling any geotagging. This allows people to see where you are. Again, to a criminal, they may interpret it as, “you aren’t home.”

Be Selective About Your Network

You should consider only connecting with people you know in real life. There are many people that have hundreds, if not thousands of friends or followers. There’s no way to know who all of those people are, or what they do, or what their intentions are. When you’re more selective about who is in your network, you slim down your chances of being a victim of a cyberattack.

Report Suspicious Accounts or Behavior

It is easy to continue scrolling and ignore accounts that post weird, inappropriate or spammy information, but you are doing yourself and others a disservice by ignoring these accounts. Reporting them can make the social media platform aware of this behavior and potentially remove the user from the site, eliminating any potential harm to you or others.

Social media can be a fun place to connect with friends and family, and with a little extra attention, it can be a safe place to connect as well. When you follow these tips, you reduce your chances of being the victim of cybercrime.

We are excited to announce our partnership with INVISUS, an innovator and leader in cybersecurity and identity theft protection. With this partnership, AG dealers now have the ability to offer exceptional cybersecurity protection to their customers and receive additional RMR for these extra services. This timely partnership benefits our AG dealers and their customers. Reach out to INVISUS today.

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