As a student, you are more than accustomed to using the Internet in your everyday life, but the risks that come with that use could greatly impact you and your future. No matter what social media platform you use, consider the type of information you choose to share with others. Here are the common cyber risks you may face when using social media:
Sharing sensitive information – Sensitive information includes anything that can help a person steal your identity or find you such as your full name, Social Security number, address, birthdate, phone number, or where you were born.
Posting questionable content – Remember future employers may look at your social media accounts before hiring you. Questionable content can include pictures, videos, or opinions that may you seem unprofessional and can damage your reputation or future prospects.
Tracking your location – Many social media platforms allow you to check in and broadcast your location, or automatically adds your location to photos and posts.
What can you do to protect yourself?
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. Keep the following in mind when using social media:
Remember, there is no ‘Delete’ button on the Internet. Think before you post, because even if you delete a post or picture from your profile only seconds after posting it, chances are someone still saw it.
Don’t broadcast your location. Location or geo-tagging features on social networks is not the safest feature to activate. You could be telling a stalker exactly where to find you or telling a thief that you are not home.
Connect only with people you trust. While some social networks might seem safer for connecting because of the limited personal information shared through them, keep your connections to people you know and trust.
Keep certain things private from everyone. Certain information should be kept completely off your social networks to begin with. While it’s fun to have everyone wish you a happy birthday, or for long-lost friends to reconnect with you online, listing your date of birth with your full name and address gives potential identity thieves pertinent information. Other things to keep private include sensitive pictures and information about friends and family. Just because you think something is amusing does not mean you should share it with the world.
Author: Tom Meyer, IT Security Officer