Social media is everywhere. It keeps you in touch with your best friends, but it can be your worst enemy when not used safely. Take an active role in protecting your privacy; read on to learn how:
Some friends are not forever: What you thought was a playful comment when you posted it can quickly be turned against you if one of your online friends stops being your friend. Be thoughtful about the comments and photos you publish - they are forever. What you post on one social media site could show up on other sites or accounts without any action or control on your part. Never post anything you would not want to see on the front page of a newspaper or online news site, and learn about the security features of the social media you are using.
Protect your credentials: Social media providers and sites differ in how well they protect your password and other sensitive information. If you use the same password for all services, a hacker can guess it on the least protected system, and can then access your other accounts. Use different passwords, use a strong password and protect them. See the Safe Password sidebar to learn how.
Look out for identity theft: The internet allows people to create false identities, fake accounts, and misrepresent other individuals’ thoughts and opinions. People can pretend to be someone else (even you!) and solicit information or communicate with others. Be sure you know with whom you are communicating on the Internet. Verify their identity if you are not sure. Call them or ask them in person to confirm.
Not all web links are safe: Information published on social media sites is not vetted or verified. You can never be sure published links and attachments are legitimate or safe. There are situations where a friend may post something they are not aware of being malicious. Do not click on links or open attachments that you cannot verify as being legitimate and safe.
Don’t find yourself alone: Many free social media services are limited in what they can and what they will do for you if your account is hacked or abused in any way. While the service provider may be willing to shut down your account to prevent further damage, by doing so, they also prevent you from investigating and retrieving your legitimate information. This is not a strong deterrent to further criminal activity on the part of the alleged perpetrator. Choose social media services that are known to be helpful in such situations, and guard your passwords and other personally identifiable information against everyone.
Protect your personal safety: Criminals use social media sites to determine when someone is home (or not). Avoid posting details about your location, as this creates risks for your personal safety.
Recognize if your Social Media account was hacked and take action: Hacked or defrauded accounts typically post links or information you did not create, or show login sessions and other activity you cannot explain. If you think your personal social media account was hacked, call the social media’s customer support line immediately. Change your passwords on all your other internet-based accounts as well. If you think any UNH-related social media account has been hacked, just as with any security breach, contact the UNH IT Service Desk at 603-862-4242 immediately, and also contact the service provider immediately. Change all your UNH passwords immediately as well.
Questions? Martin England