Social Networks: Staying Safe
With the popularity of the internet in the past decade, social networking has touched everyone’s life deeply, be it the young, the old or the middle aged. We virtually live on the social networking websites, from updating current moods to the day’s plan, putting pictures of various occasions or just a casual hangout at a coffee shop, play games, tag people and do a lot of interaction with family and friends across continents. Sometimes people living next door may not interact in person due to their business, but keep in touch on the social network.[pullquote_left]Social networking sites could prove to be harmful in more ways than one, and one must exercise caution while using it.[/pullquote_left]
But beautiful flowers have thorns too, and social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, Hi5, and etcetera could prove to be harmful in more than one way possible, and one must exercise caution while using it. You go well go on sharing your photographs and videos on such websites, but there is some personal information which is unwise to share, especially on the web.
- [checklist]Birth Date and Place – Well, you might be wondering how revealing the place and exact birth date could possibly harm you, but little does the common man know that by revealing your birth place and date you are actually giving the identity thieves a key to stealing your personality leading to impersonation and financial frauds. Your personal information may also be misused to crack your back passwords and ATM pins. However, it is fine to put up just the day you were born, so that people can wish you on your birthday through the website.
- Vacation Plans – Posting your vacation dates and plans on a social networking website is like inviting the thief to ransack you while you are out enjoying on a beach or in a resort. A study revealed that the thieves check out the social networking sites to plan their robberies. If you are so eager to share your holiday plans with your friends, make sure you never disclose the exact date or even hint it casually. You could put up the photographs of the vacation when you are back, but please to not put the departure dates.
- Home Address – Again, revealing your home address could invite trouble. Another issue with disclosing your address information is that you run the risk of identity theft.
- Confessions – The social networking site is not a confession box, so you don’t have to spill the content of your heart there. You may hate your job, lie on the taxes, think ill about friends or even have a rough night, but do not say it out loud on a social networking site, as it might cost you your job. A study done last year estimated that 8% of companies fired someone for “misuse” of social media. Abusing friends or confronting them on sites like Facebook might cause a greater damage than you think, and will also portray a bad character in front of everyone.
[pullquote_right]A study done last year estimated that 8% of companies fired someone for “misuse” of social media.[/pullquote_right]
- Password Clue – This is the most common, and also the most dangerous information people reveal on social networking websites. First of all you keep a weak password, and then advertise all your personal information in public…your account is bound to get hacked!! Your birth year, family names, names of your pet, nicknames of children, are some of the information you may use for your password, and publicizing it on a social network is definitely going to be disastrous. So be careful about what you are putting up there, and it should not even remotely hint your password, be it your online password, bank password or your ATM pin.
[pullquote_left]Insurance companies keep a track of your deeds through social networking websites and if you end up breaking a leg while carrying out your wildness, they aren’t paying for it.[/pullquote_left]
- Strange Behavior – You may get wild on a weekend, jump from the roof or hit the maximum speed on a short drive. Well, it’s your life, live it the way you like, but do not show off on a social networking website. Insurance companies keep a track of your deeds through social networking websites and if you end up breaking a leg while carrying out your wildness, they aren’t paying for it. The insurance firms use the web quite efficiently to figure out whether or not you are putting your life or property at risk, and even if they get a tiny clue as to what you might be up to, they may end up cancelling your claim.[/checklist]
Have fun on the web; just make sure you keep your personal information personal only.
Shahenshah is a computer science engineer who likes to do things differently. He spends most of his time with the love of his life which is his computer, using it mostly for gaming and writing and has a incredible knack for peppering humour into his life