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Social Media and Security

From posting reviews to keeping in touch with family, social media can enhance our lives. However, it also poses unique security risks. In order to ensure the safety of you and your family, IT Services' security team recommends the following security guidelines when using social media. 

Never post information that you would not share with a criminal

From a social perspective, you may want to post like your mom or your boss is reading over your shoulder. From a security perspective, post like a criminal, thief, or stalker is watching. Just like you would never leave an voicemail message that you were out of town and your house would be empty for the next week, do not post on social media that you will be or are out of town. Always consider what someone with malicious intentions could do with the information you are disclosing. 

This also means you should not post personal information such as your address or phone number to social media accounts. Consider removing contact information from your account. Anyone who you want have your contact information probably does not need to go to Facebook to find it. 

Use a different password

Always use a strong password, especially on social media sites where traffic is high and therefore very appealing to hackers. In addition, make sure the password you use is unique and you are not using it for other websites. This limits security breaches. Using an identical password makes it easier for hackers to access your personal information. Once they’ve figured out your singular password they can access all of your accounts. If someone hacks your Facebook account, you do not want them to also be able to gain bank account information or any other personal information. 

Limit permissions, but don't trust those limits

Limit the number of people who can view your account by posting information only to your friends rather than publicly. Only add people as friends if you actually know them. However, this just because you have limited permissions does not mean that information is safe. It is easy to accidentally post publicly or have a friend share information their friends or the general public.

Do not grant access to plugins, games, or add-ons

Assume that all plugins, games, and add-ons that you allow to connect to your account can access the information that you provide to the social media site in question. There have been several security leaks from top app providers. Once a third party has your information, they can do what they want with that information--including resell it to third-party vendors. Play games independent of your account and say no to any requests to access your account from outside vendors.

Facebook provides instructions to help you review what apps you have already granted access to on Facebook and block that access

Make sure your login is secure 

Any time you are entering your username and password, you should see https proceeding the web address. If you don't see an "s," then the login is not secure and any personal information (like username and password) could be obtained by someone with malicious intent. 

Be aware of what you are agreeing to with your social media provider

When you join a social media website, you must click that you read all the terms and conditions, but that is a lot of information to take in. Look at the privacy policies of your social media provider to determine of your social media provider still meets your privacy needs

Recommended reading

If you use social media for UC San Diego or marketing purposes, we recommend that you look at University Communications and Public Affairs' Social Media Guide

This Wired article provides help with managing your Facebook privacy settings.

Find out how to change your Google+ settings.

Category: Cybersecurity