Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr allow you to easily connect with friends and family. However, if precautions are not taken you may also be connecting with untrustworthy people and technologies. Here are some best practices for safer social networking:
- Manage your privacy settings. Each social network has its own set of privacy settings including the amount of information you share with people and systems you don't know. Always read about the sites privacy and security policies and take the time to change the settings to suit your preferences.
- Keep personal information off the network. Providing phone numbers, mother's maiden name, your birth date, and other personal information may be like handing the "keys to the kingdom" to hackers or identity thieves.
- Protect your computer. Social networking sites are prime places to pick up a computer virus, malware, spyware, or key loggers. Microsoft provides some great information on protecting yourself and your computer here. http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/social-networking.aspx
- Remember, don't post anything you wouldn't want your relatives or future employer to see. If it will embarrass you for them to know what you're posting, don't do it. What goes online stays online.
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