Social media is such an ingrained part of our lives; it's where we connect with friends, share our experiences and even conduct business. However, amid this digital convenience, cyber threats and data breaches continue to increase and cyberattacks keep getting more intelligent.
Let’s delve into twelve crucial strategies to fortify your digital defence, ensuring that your online presence remains secure and your personal information stays a closely guarded secret.
1. Guard your location and routines
Sharing vacation photos with your friends on social media is exciting, right? But here's the catch: it's not just your friends who see those photos. Potential burglars could be watching, too, noting that your home is currently unoccupied.
And it's not just vacations; posting daily routines can be equally risky. That innocent check-in at your favourite coffee shop every morning tells cyber criminals your whereabouts. So, think twice before broadcasting your routines.
2. Protect your identification numbers
Your ID number, driver's license, bank account numbers, and passport are like the crown jewels of your personal information. Sharing them on social media is like leaving your front door wide open for cybercriminals.
Be cautious even when celebrating personal achievements, like getting your driver's license. Ensure that personally identifying information, such as your full name or address, isn't visible in your posts.
3. Limit information in your "About" section
Think of your "About" section on social media as a puzzle. The less information you provide, the harder it is for anyone to complete the puzzle of your life. Only provide necessary information, and avoid revealing sensitive details like your maiden name or hometown. Consider leaving certain fields blank or providing broad answers to reduce your online footprint.
4. Selective connections
In the digital world, not all "friends" are friendly. Only accept connection requests from individuals you know personally. Be aware that even your friends' accounts could potentially be hijacked or hacked, leaking information about you to malicious actors. Be picky about your digital companions.
5. Strengthen your passwords
Your social media account is a fortress, and your password is the key. Craft strong, unique passwords for each social media account, ideally with 12 to 16 characters. Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or common words.
6. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Just having a password is like having one lock on your digital fortress. Add another layer of protection with 2FA. But be wary of SMS-based 2FA; it can be vulnerable to sneaky SIM-swapping attacks. So, opt for safer methods like authentication apps or hardware tokens.
7. Fine-tune privacy settings
Your social media profiles are your kingdom; rule them wisely. Regularly review and adjust privacy settings to control who can see your posts, profile information and online activity.
8. Monitor active sessions
Imagine your social media accounts as a high-security vault. Keep an eye on who's trying to break in. If you spot any unrecognised devices or sessions, act swiftly – log them out to prevent unauthorised access. Vigilance is your greatest defence.
9. Stay safe in public
You're scrolling through your social media feed in a crowded coffee shop, and you don't realise someone behind you is watching. Beware of shoulder surfing when using social media in public places. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks or use a VPN for added security. And always, always check for that HTTPS connection when entering sensitive information.
10. Watch for security alert emails
Pay attention to emails notifying you of failed login attempts or password changes. But also beware of phishing scams; verify the sender's legitimacy before taking any action. Trust, but verify.
11. Delete unused accounts
Think of your online accounts like old, dusty books on a shelf. If you're not reading them anymore, it's time to clear them out. Remove online accounts you no longer use to reduce your online vulnerability. Ensure that active accounts have strong passwords and are 2FA enabled. And keep your digital library tidy.
12. Keep software updated
Regularly update your operating system, browser and antivirus/anti-malware software. Stay proactive in protecting your devices from cyber threats.
In a world where social media can be both a source of connection and vulnerability, taking proactive steps to safeguard your online presence is crucial. By implementing these cybersecurity practices, you can enjoy the benefits of social media while minimising the risks. Remember, your online safety is in your hands, so take action to fortify your digital fortress.