Invest a few minutes for a very high payoff!
If you are still using the default privacy settings on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube, etc. you are most likely taking unnecessary risks. Take time to walk through all of the “privacy settings” in your profile. There is usually a myriad of choices besides the default settings.
Most reputable social networking services will allow us to choose what information is made publicly or privately available. In other words, you can limit the people who can “watch” your on-line actions.
Warning: Like any information security practice, you can’t rely on it one hundred percent!!! Keep in mind that social media sites can be hacked. Just because we mark something as private, we still have to proceed as if once we type it into a computer, somewhere down the road it could be public.
This is why it would be best if you (and possibly your family) perform what we call “data classification” on your own personal information. Just like the financial institution does, decide what information about your self and your family should be kept confidential. What type of pictures would you NOT want a bad-guy to see? Do you really need a list of the politicians you hate to be on your Facebook site? And keep in mind that your Social Security Number is probably MORE public than your mother’s maiden name, your first Dog, your first car, etc.
Don’t put anything in the public realm that is not necessary to facilitate the mission of your social media site. If you use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, do you really need to log when and where you are going on vacation, and for how long? We security professionals call this “need-to-know.” Consider starting a “policy” for your own personal behavior that you don’t share information that you do not HAVE to share!
Review your privacy settings several times per year. If for no other reason, you’d be surprised at the third party applications that accidentally get installed when you respond to a legitimate request from a legitimate “friend.”
Beyond that, it’s simply a security best practice.
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