Smart ways to guard yourself on social media sites

Social media has become part of our digital identity. It has made a huge impact on the way people communicate and interact with each other. Over the years with easy access to internet and low-cost computing devices number of people using social networking websites has grown exponentially in India and globally. Today people prefer to spend time on social media websites catching up with their friends rather than meeting them in person. Social networking websites offer a platform for people to share their favorite pictures, videos, events and stay connected with their friends and families. According to a recent study done by Statista an online statistics portal, there are more than 1.6 billion active social networking sites users worldwide. Though it is fun to be on social networking sites as it offers easy way to remain connected with our loved ones but seldom have we thought how much we are at the threat of our data getting stolen by hackers. Every other day we hear of well known social networking website hacked by the hackers. They steal all the confidential information like credit card details, email ids, phone number etc and misuse them. Are we prepared to protect and safeguard our digital identity? No matter how safe a social networking website claim to be but it is always wise to use best practice.

Below are 7 best practices to guard you on social networking website

1. Read privacy policies

 This is a first best practice that one should follow when registering themselves on a social networking sites. However many users are either unaware of this or never read the privacy policies. These documents are lengthy it consist of the way user should conduct while using the social networking site. It also talks about the things user can share and the things user should refrain from. Reading the complete privacy document gives a fair idea what one should do in case if their account is compromised or they get locked out of their account due to wrong password. In addition to this user can manage their privacy settings and allow who can see their information. 

2. Use strong passwords

Strong passwords are essential to protect ones social networking account from hackers. Though every website recommend use of strong passwords with the mix of upper and lower case alphabets, symbols and numbers but seldom users follow the instructions and many of them always tend to use passwords which are simple and easy to guess. This makes the account vulnerable for hacking. As a rule of thumb you should make your password 6 to 8 characters long and something that cannot be easily guessed. Just like having a strong password is recommended so is changing them regularly is must. This practice will protect your account from hackers and unauthorized intrusion. 

3. Don't use public computers or open networks

 At times users tend to use public computers in cyber cafe or offices to access social networking websites. Many times in doing so they forget to log-out of their sessions, or leave some crucial piece of information regarding their account on the computer.  This may lead to hacking of accounts, stealing of confidential data, phishing attack etc. Also, it has been seen some of the people use open and unsafe network to connect to wi-fi and access social networking sites this may at times it can compromise your social networking account. Users should practice caution while using public computer or open network to access social networking sites.

4. Don't fall for phishing scam

Phishing is a method used by hackers to retrieve sensitive and confidential user data by pretending as if the information in the mail is coming from genuine source. Social networking websites are the easiest way to trick people into sharing their confidential data. Hackers mostly target unsuspecting social networking users by sending mails that lead them to fraudulent websites asking them to share details. So whenever users get a new message or mail they should check the header of the message, find out the email address and never to link on the link our install app without verifying the source. 

 5. Check and re-check what you post online

Internet is permanent and hence whatever you post on the social networking websites will remain there irrespective of whether you delete the content or not. Hence it is important to make sure the content you post does not have any confidential information. So it is important to be selective in posting things online. 

6. Update software regularly

Old and outdated software makes the computer vulnerable by giving backdoor entry to hackers and people accessing social networking website through that computer. Hence it becomes very important to update the software of mobile and computer devices for safe and secure access of social networking sites. Use of trusted anti-virus and malware also help in safe browsing of social networking sites. 

 7. Don't reveal personal information  

Many people have tendency to reveal confidential information on social media sites this makes them vulnerable. Many hackers create false account and on pretext of friendship can steal your confidential data.

Social networking sites are meant for connecting with family and friends and sharing important events of one's life. No matter how secure a website claim it to be but following some best practices will always help users to get more out a social networking sites.