Everything changed in 2020. It was a year when online life started to reign supreme, due to the obvious. Stuck at home, with almost everything closed, people adopted technology and spent more of their time online than ever before.
The annual AARP’s technology survey reveals that older adults have been successfully adopting the use of new technology in face of the global pandemic. With high levels of social isolation, the mature demographic has also adopted the use of social media for staying in touch and communicating with family and friends.
But, as much as social media is there to help us stay connected, it’s essential to understand that, as with everything on the internet, there are security concerns that should be addressed. Today, we’re looking at the cyber threats lurking on social media and the most effective ways to counter them. Plus, we’ve got a cybersecurity quiz to help you evaluate your security skills.
Social media: a double-edged sword
Although social media appears harmless on the surface, there remains a risk that you could expose your personal sensitive information to cybercrooks even if you share the moments of your private life with just your friends and family.
Taking the right precautions to curb online threats makes sense, but it goes beyond only avoiding the wrong people online. It is much more crucial to understand that staying safe on social media is a complex challenge. Here are a few simple yet effective steps that you can take to remain safe on social media and continue using it for connecting with your friends and loved ones.
For the most part, sharing some information on social media is OK. However, remember that some information can reveal too much about you. For the sake of personal safety, you should avoid sharing your exact date of birth, home address, or phone number, as this could put you at risk of identity theft and fraud. Also, it might seem obvious, but you should never post anything that might contain your credit card number, banking information, passwords, or Social Security number. It also goes without saying that all such information should never be shared over direct messages. In some instances, scammers use impersonation tactics to lure sensitive data from unsuspecting social media users. This is a tactic similar to the one known as phishing.
Adjust your privacy settings
The first thing you should set out to do is to go through your social media apps and update your privacy settings. Making your profile private is an effective way to guarantee that anyone who wants to interact with your posts has to become your friend or follower before seeing what you share. Essentially, this allows you to become the gatekeeper of your online profile. If your profile remains public, a lot of personal information will simply remain exposed to the entire internet.
Every social media platform provides different privacy permissions and settings. Some have specific options that allow you to select which posts are shared with your followers and friends. Take the time to adjust all the settings, and you will limit your exposure to dubious third parties on social media.
Avoid posting your location
Over the years, the line between virtual and real life has blurred. That’s why it’s important to realize that actions on the internet have real-life consequences. Posting your location on social media might sound like a fun idea. You may be excited about your vacation or a weekend trip, but letting others know where you are exactly might not be the smartest decision. Not only would it allow others to know that your home is unattended, but also your vacation location could be a great indication for online scammers who look for easy targets at tourist destinations.
Be careful about your clicks
Social media is a hotbed of all sorts of scams. Be very selective about what you click. Avoid any ads that seem too good to be true. Those ads are designed to grab your attention and, if clicked, will likely lead you to suspicious third-party websites designed by scammers and hackers to extract either money or personal information. In other instances, you could end up on webpages filled with malicious applications, and, in some instances, get your device infected with malware.
Use strong and unique passwords
Another social media safety rule that you should never overlook is the proper protection of your accounts. The security of social media accounts is just as important as that of your computer or any other online account. The very best you can do to boost your account’s security is to create a strong and unique password. While there are rules for coming up with complex passwords, using a password generator is a lot easier, quicker, and more effective. However, remembering complex passwords is a challenge. Fortunately, the NordPass password manager is designed to help you do just that. It keeps your passwords secure in a single place and helps you automatically log in to all your favorite online accounts. A password manager is a tool that boosts your overall cybersecurity posture.
Hopefully, now you are ready to take the quiz and put your newly acquired security knowledge to the test.