Saturday, September 30, 2023

Protect Yourself Against Social Network Scams…

March 26, 2010 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( Social networks, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter serve as highly useful communication tools for individuals these days. However, they have also become targets for hackers, as they are full of potential victims. Unfortunately, these threats are fairly new, so many have not begun to think about how to protect themselves. Last year there was an assault against Twitter. Plus, swindlers have been stealing Facebook accounts and using them to fast-talk strangers out of money.

Criminals can’t get direct access to personal information stored on your computer because social networks run on different, distant computers called servers. Therefore, almost all attacks involve “social engineering” designed to trick you into relinquishing your password, installing a piece of socialnetworks dangerous software yourself, providing your credit card information, or other ways of putting yourself at risk through your own actions.

As a result, common sense and healthy skepticism are even more critical when using social networks. That said there are several ways to protect against the new social networking scams.

Make sure to run the correct browser software and that you have the most current version of your operating system. For instance, run the security package that is included if you use Windows. Also, use modern browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, and or Chrome. These newer versions have some built-in protections.

Carefully judge each and every message you receive. In particular, beware of any messages that suggest you click off the site to perform an action such as viewing a photo or video. If you receive a cryptic note from someone that looks suspicious, send a note to that person to ask about the message in further detail. This way you can ensure the legitimacy of the message.

Be careful when clicking selections because social sites are full of short URLs that may forward you to a page with a longer address, in which case you can never be certain where these links will lead you. Be sure to pay attention when clicking onto other sites that request your Facebook or Twitter password once you leave the social network, even if the site looks exactly the same as the previously visited social network. If you have left the authentic Facebook or Twitter URL (Web address), do not enter your personal information.

It is essential that you protect your passwords because hackers can break into your account and launch attacks on your family and friends. It is good to choose cryptic passwords with numbers, punctuation marks and random characters. It is also good to change your password from time to time. However, you should change your password immediately if there is evidence that someone may have hacked into your account.

Most importantly, be very cautious when sharing personal information, especially in status updates. For instance, notifying your social network of your whereabouts allows people to know when you will not be home, which could make you susceptible to burglaries.

None of this information was shared to deter you from using social networks, but rather to ensure that you are very smart about the way you use these tools and the information you communicate through them.

Written By Jazelle Reed

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