Tuesday, March 23, 2010

4 Safety Tips for Social Networking

4 Safety Tips for Social Networking

If you're spending a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook these days, don't worry, you're not alone. But as with anything else that's fun and attracts a lot of people, criminals are spending time there as well, looking to cause some kind of harm. Like any sort of cyber security issue, common sense is an important part of keeping yourself safe, but Fox News has pointed out a few specific things you can do to keep your social networking time secure. Here is a look at some of them.

1. Run up-to-date software. Make sure you're running a current browser like Firefox or Internet Explorer and make sure it's up to date. Use a security package if you're a PC user, and keep your operating system up-to-date with patches and updates.

2. Be aware of strange messages. If you get something that looks strange, exercise caution. For example, maybe you're on Twitter and someone who you talk to often sends you a direct message with something that seems out of character for them or doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Don't just click it, assuming your buddy sent it, ask them first. This way, you can avoid becoming part of a scam and your friend can take necessary action against whatever has compromised their account. And of course, when you get odd messages from strangers, you may want to ignore those all together.

3. Don't be so quick to click. Clicking on the wrong link can be a nightmare for computer users and these days with most of Twitter using URL shorteners like bit.ly and tinyurl, you really can't tell what you're about to click on. Generally, these links are harmless and used in the way they were meant to be, but if you click on one and you end up on a page that looks suspect, leave immediately. And if you ever land on a page that asks for your password to anything, even if it looks like it's the page it says it is, exit and pull the right page up yourself.

4. Watch what you share. The Foursquare app is popular lately. It allows you to share your whereabouts with your online friends. Personally, I don't really want some crazy Twitter follower catching up with me when I'm buying groceries, having lunch with a friend, or walking my dogs at the park, but that's just me. Broadcasting your location could attract danger. Whether a would-be criminal wants to find you or wants to know when you're not home so they can break into your house, announcing your exact time and location could be risky. Especially if you're gonna be away for a while.

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