As social networking websites are used more and more often for personal and professional purposes, there is more opportunity for hackers, spammers and identity thieves to take advantage of these users.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure that you can be safe while still using social media as a highly effective tool for maintaining your networks:
1. Use caution when clicking links sent in messages. In general, if you treat these as you would treat emails containing links you can avoid harmful links. If you don't recognize the sender or if the link does not seem to relate to something a person you know would send then use caution.
2. Keep track of what you have posted. Hackers can often use information that you have posted or listed (for example, your birthday on your profile) to answer questions such as "Forgot your password?" and gain control of your account.
3. Don't allow sites to scan your email address book. Often when you join sites they will offer to scan your email address book so you can find more contacts. To do this you provide your email address and password. What these websites will often do is email all your contacts or even anyone you have sent an email to from that address.
4. Be very selective about who you accept as a friend or connection in your network. Hackers can create fake accounts in order to gather your personal information.
5. Use caution when installing extras on your site. Some social networking websites allow third-party extras to be used on your personal page. These applications can be interesting and helpful, but make sure that you have properly protected your computer and are aware of what could be a harmful application.
By following these basic tips and actively monitoring your social media account, you can maintain a safe and fun social network.
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