Our digital identities are formed by the information we share online, including social media. Even seemingly innocuous information that we share on social media, like mother’s maiden name or high school mascot, can be used to unlock your most sensitive accounts. While social media networks have security and privacy tools in place, the onus is ultimately on the user to ensure their personal information is under wraps. Consider the following best practices to help you stay safe on social media.
- Review privacy settings. Ensure you’re not sharing information publicly. Review these settings often, as social media networks tend to change their privacy policies. Facebook offers a Privacy Checkup, which walks users through their settings.
- Protect your PII. Keep your profiles, posts and pictures on social media free of personally identifiable information (PII). Even seemingly harmless information can be used against you, like mother’s maiden name or high school mascot, as these are often used as password reset questions.
- Turn off geotagging features. Avoid checking in or sharing your location when posting on social media. The same goes for posting pictures while on vacation; wait until you return to share your trip. These activities may alert criminals to your whereabouts.
- Turn on two-factor authentication. Some social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, provide an extra layer of security by sending a unique code to your phone when logging in from a new device.
- Keep Your Social Media Apps Updated. When prompted to update your social media apps, do this as soon as possible. These updates are important, as they typically address security vulnerabilities.
Following these best practices may help you stay secure on social media. It’s also a good idea to invest in an identity protection service that includes social media monitoring tools. These services may alert you to privacy or reputational risks found on your social networks, keeping you ahead of the curve.