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Security Tips: Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites

How to have fun while practicing safety on your favorite social networks.

Matthew Delagdo

on 26 July 2013

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Transcript of Security Tips: Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites

Staying Safe on SOCIAL NETWORKING Sites
The popularity of social networking sites continues to increase, especially among teenagers and young adults. The nature of these sites introduces security risks, so you should take certain precautions.

Staying Safe on Social Network Sites

Social networking sites, sometimes referred to as "friend-of-a-friend" sites, build upon the concept of traditional social networks where you are connected to new people through people you already know. The purpose of some networking sites may be purely social, allowing users to establish friendships or romantic relationships, while others may focus on establishing business connections.

What are social networking sites?

Although the features of social networking sites differ, they all allow you to provide information about yourself and offer some type of communication mechanism (forums, chat rooms, email, instant messenger) that enables you to connect with other users. On some sites, you can browse for people based on certain criteria, while other sites require that you be "introduced" to new people through a connection you share. Many of the sites have communities or subgroups that may be based on a particular interest.

A social network is a structure made of people that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as values, visions, ideas, financial exchange, friendship and so on.

Here are some popular examples
More about internet social networking!

Today, Facebook, with more than 132 million users in 2008, is a leader in Internet social networking

Online social networks exploded in 2003 with the introduction of Facebook.
"Internet version" of social networks is one of the most advanced forms of communication
Security Implications
Social networking sites rely on connections and communication, so they encourage you to provide a certain amount of personal information. When deciding how much information to reveal, people may not exercise the same amount of caution as they would when meeting someone in person because:

the internet provides a sense of anonymity
the lack of physical interaction provides a false sense of security
they tailor the information for their friends to read, forgetting that others may see it
they want to offer insights to impress potential friends or associates

While the majority of people using these sites do not pose a threat, malicious people may be drawn to them because of the accessibility and amount of personal information that's available. The more information malicious people have about you, the easier it is for them to take advantage of you. Predators may form relationships online and then convince unsuspecting individuals to meet them in person. That could lead to a dangerous situation. The personal information can also be used to conduct a social engineering attack (see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information). Using information that you provide about your location, hobbies, interests, and friends, a malicious person could impersonate a trusted friend or convince you that they have the authority to access other personal or financial data.
Additionally, because of the popularity of these sites, attackers may use them to distribute malicious code. Sites that offer applications developed by third parties are particularly susceptible. Attackers may be able to create customized applications that appear to be innocent while infecting your computer or sharing your information without your knowledge.

Millions of people divulging Personal Identifiable Information (PII)

Identity Theft becomes a primary concern



Potential Terrorist Targeting

Security Concerns with Social Networks
False sense of anonymity
Being at your home doesn’t mean your personal information is more protected!
Limit the Check In Feature
Lack of physical contact
Sometimes lulls people into revealing information they would never reveal otherwise
Intimate details and your photo
What makes these sites unique
Also makes it easier for someone to find you!
Gossiping about company information
Sharing proprietary or confidential information

Be Aware of:
Things to Remember when using social networks
Thoroughly review all information on your personal page to ensure it is not revealing personal or professional information that should be protected

Be Discreet!
of those you allow on your page! Not all people are involved in social networking for entertainment purposes.

Be Cautious!
regarding the use social networks.

Always Follow Company Policy!
social networking websites from work.

Never Access
Protect Yourself!!
Take the time to read the privacy-related documents posted on these websites!

Be Informed!
share your password with anyone!

After you type your email address and password into the login page, make sure the
"Remember me"
check box is
turned off
before you click the Login button!

Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your address or information about your schedule or routine. If your connections post information about you, make sure the combined information is not more than you would be comfortable with strangers knowing. Also be considerate when posting information, including photos, about your connections.

Limit the amount of personal information you post!
Evaluate Your Settings
Check Privacy Policies
Use STRONG passwords
Additional Protection Methods
Take advantage of a site's privacy settings. The default settings for some sites may allow anyone to see your profile, but you can customize your settings to restrict access to only certain people. There is still a risk that private information could be exposed despite these restrictions, so don't post anything that you wouldn't want the public to see. Sites may change their options periodically, so review your security and privacy settings regularly to make sure that your choices are still appropriate.

Third-party applications may provide entertainment or functionality, but use caution when deciding which applications to enable. Avoid applications that seem suspicious, and modify your settings to limit the amount of information the applications can access.
Be wary of third-party applications
Protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed. If your password is compromised, someone else may be able to access your account and pretend to be you.
Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. This may lead to an increase in spam (see Reducing Spam for more information). Also, try to locate the policy for handling referrals to make sure that you do not unintentionally sign your friends up for spam. Some sites will continue to send email messages to anyone you refer until they join.

Remember that the internet is a public resource
Only post information you are comfortable with anyone seeing. This includes information and photos in your profile and in blogs and other forums. Also, once you post information online, you can't retract it. Even if you remove the information from a site, saved or cached versions may still exist on other people's machines
Be Wary of Strangers
The internet makes it easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives . Consider limiting the people who are allowed to contact you on these sites. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal or agreeing to meet them in person.

Be Skeptical
Don't believe everything you read online. People may post false or misleading information about various topics, including their own identities. This is not necessarily done with malicious intent; it could be unintentional, an exaggeration, or a joke. Take appropriate precautions, though, and try to verify the authenticity of any information before taking any action.

Keep software, particularly your web browser, up to date!
Install software updates so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates. If this option is available, you should enable it.

Use and maintain anti-virus software
Anti-virus software helps protect your computer against known viruses, so you may be able to detect and remove the virus before it can do any damage. Because attackers are continually writing new viruses, it is important to keep your definitions up to date.

Children are especially susceptible to the threats that social networking sites present. Although many of these sites have age restrictions, children may misrepresent their ages so that they can join.

By teaching children about internet safety, being aware of their online habits, and guiding them to appropriate sites, parents can make sure that the children become safe and responsible users
Final Thoughts... Remember to...
Customize your Privacy settings

Control who can see your Profile and the Personal Information you share.

If you’re being harassed, report it to the appropriate website contact and or the police!

Familiarize yourself with the local Cyberstalking and Cyberharrassment Laws in your state. Visit: National Conference of State Legislatures http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/telecom/cyberstalking-and-cyberharassment-laws.aspx


GBX Security Tips
Created by Queenetta LeFlore, Corporate Facility Security Officer, and Matthew Delgado, Intern.
Last Update: July 2013

Writers: Mindi McDowell, Allen Householder, and Matt Lytle
Full transcript