The Dark Side of Social Media

Written by Kristina
Customer Success

September 22 - (5 Min Read)

Social Media today has become an essential and fundamental part of our day-to-day lives. It’s evolved into such an important channel of communication, that for most, it’s a can’t-live-without commodity.

Whether it’s keeping up with the latest pins on Pinterest, professionally networking on LinkedIn, following and keeping tabs on your favorite A-listers on Twitter and Instagram or staying in touch with family and friends on Facebook, Social Media (SM) is always present. SM has become indispensable. Almost all products, services, events, groups, and the people you know are connected to one or more social networking platforms. So even if you’re trying to escape the clutches of SM, you won’t get too far. We use SM for practically everything nowadays. We’re glued! There’s no denying the fact, that the first thing you do when you wake up is reach for your device to check your SM accounts. It’s difficult to imagine a world without them. Right?!

As great as SM can be with all its communication abilities and benefits, it also has its pitfalls.

So, what’s the issue?

The problem is pesky Privacy and Security Issues…let me elaborate.

Since the beginning of the Internet-of-Things, there has always been this Privacy/ Security Monster lurking in the shadows. And because living life disconnected from the digital world is not really an option in today’s day, such confidentiality and privacy issues will persistently keep haunting us. Sharing your life and experiences online means exposing private information to not only friends and family, but also to the rest of the world. Anything that is on the Internet, is never truly private. That means that whatever you post or share online is open to hackers, identity thieves, and the like.

There are a number of ways that Internet crooks can use SM platforms to steal your information. This includes:

– Hijacking your Account

Basically, this is when a hacker logs into your account using illegally obtained login details. Such details could be achieved by keyloggers, pieces of software that run in the background, taking note of every keystroke made. Once they have access into your account they would have all your information at their disposal.

– Profile Cloning

When another person creates a Social Media account by using unprotected information, photos and other details taken from your existing profile. Impersonating you, the cyber-criminal then sends out follow or friend requests to all of your friends, who most probably will accept the requests, giving access to a whole lot more of information, which is then used to clone more profiles.

– Cross Platform Cloning

Cross platform cloning takes cloning to a whole new level. This happens when the cyber-criminal takes the information from a particular Social Media profile and creates fake profiles across  a range of Social Media platforms.

– Phishing

This usually involves the scammer posing as someone you might know and asking you to give out sensitive information through a link and once clicked your PC would become infected with malware.

While numerous Social Media platforms offer privacy and security settings against such threats, many individuals are not fully aware of how to correctly operate them, providing hackers with easy access to their personal information and accounts.

So what can you do to ensure Security and Privacy on Social Media?

1. Understand what information the site needs from you and how they use it

  • Thoroughly read the platforms terms and conditions especially their privacy policy.
  • Do not give out any more information than needed especially sensitive information.
  • Never use a work email – it is advisable that you create a separate one for Social Media channels.
  • Make sure you that you create a strong different password for every Social Media profile and change it regularly.

2. Think before you share

  • Be cautious of what you post on such platforms, keep in mind that oversharing might even give access to burglars.
  • You might also want to limit post visibility so that only your friends can see them.
  • Remember just because you can post, it doesn’t mean you should!

3. Tag, you’re it!

  • Tagging might seem harmless but it can also lessen privacy levels and widen the scope. So the more people you tag in a particular post or photo, the more people can see your post.
  • Keep tabs on all your tags and mentions – privacy scanners can help you with this.

4. Control visibility of app activities

  • Third party apps connected with Social Media platforms often pose a threat to privacy as they ask to access your information. Limit what kind of information you want to share, and what you’d rather keep to yourself. When in doubt, it may be best to uninstall such apps completely! Unless you can’t live without it.

5. Privacy Settings

  • Most Social Media platforms constantly change and update their privacy settings, so ideally every now and again you might want to take a look at them again to make sure that all your previous privacy settings are still saved the way you like them.

Whether you were just looking to close a few knowledge gaps, or a complete novice to Social Media, we’re glad you stopped by our blog! Stay plugged- in for more Ellpful articles.

Topics such as space, Internet, performance, privacy, security, devices, multimedia, applications, power and more, are at the heart of our discussions. Stay on top of your device experience and get the latest how-to articles and top insights from our Ellpers.

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