Immensely popular social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter have a rapidly growing user base, but with the fast growing social network communities also come unexpected risks. Geeks On Site has created a list of tips on how to keep yourself safe from scams on social networks:
· Be careful with applications: Social networks have applications that can be fun and sometimes helpful tools. However, some applications you add to your profile (e.g. on Facebook) might attempt to install malware, viruses, Trojans and even keyloggers in your computer. In other cases, they can even send messages to your friends, posing as you, inviting them to add the malicious application, follow a link or a download.
· Be selective of who you add as a friend and adjust your privacy settings. Keep in mind that even if you get a request from someone that you may know, it could be an impostor. You can also adjust your privacy settings so that you can select which friends get certain information and which ones do not.
· Keep your personal information private: Even though it might seem harmless, your information could be used for identity theft. If you are going to add it, make sure the people allowed to see it are people you know and trust.
· As always, be careful where you click and what you open. Just because you may know the person that does not mean the link they send is safe. If you receive a message with only a link, it is most likely to be a phishing site. These e-mails can be spotted by looking at the language and sound of the text. Keep in mind that your friends themselves might not be trying to send you these things, but they themselves could be victims of a scam.
· Be cautious of people representing themselves as officials or surviving victims, as they may want to take advantage and request donations.
· Make sure you change your passwords regularly and do not use the same password for various sign-ons.
· Do not log in unless you go to the website directly. Do not follow links you receive in an e-mail, as they might be phishing sites. Never give your login information if you have already signed in the network and do not recall signing off.
According to an article by Brian Krebs on WashingtonPost.com “… the reality is that most people are trusting individuals at heart, and social networking sites build themselves on a culture of trust: Trust that clicking on a user’s photo or merely reading a message from another reader won’t turn your computer into a spam-spewing zombie or cause your page to become a vector for cyber attacks against others.”
So should you avoid keeping up with your friends and family via social networks and stick with old-fashioned ways of communicating like “ma bell”? Of course not. But staying up on current computer viruses and constantly updating your security measures greatly decreases the chances you will experience identity theft, unknowingly send viruses to everyone in your email address book, or open an attachment that renders your PC or laptop useless.
There are plenty of resources out there to help you get the most out of online social networks while reducing your risk. We recommend calling Geeks On Site Computer Repair. They have a monthly subscription plan that offers instant VIP access to their remote technicians. Certainly, you may be tech savvy and think it unnecessary to enroll in such a program- but there is nothing wrong with having a plan B- the key is to be proactive by taking preventative action rather than simply reacting after something has already gone awry.