Social Media: Top 10 Security Tips

social media security risks

Matt Buck Cartoon

We all know the fantastic impact that social media has had – such as breaking news stories, keeping us “in the loop”, connecting people, making contacts, catching up with old friends etc – but it sadly hasn’t all been positive…which has left a fly (or should that be worm) in the social media ointment.

What am I prattling on about you may ask? Well, hackers and online scammers are unfortunately exploiting the popularity and trust in social networking to scam and hustle people on social media websites out of private information and even money. It has started to filter through to people that there is a spam problem, as you have probably seen status updates on Facebook from friends warning their mates about a virus or two.

But here are the Top 10 basic tips and pointers to stay safe when social networking;

social media security

  1. Avoid clicking on links, but if you need to then hover over the link and ensure that they are going to respectable websites. Scammers use your friend’s profiles to post malicious links, so be careful.
  2. Use strong passwords that features numbers and characters (*#$ etc). Do not use words.  Change your password regularly.
  3. Run anti-virus software every couple of days.
  4. Delete cookies regularly.
  5. Don’t add people you don’t know – especially on Facebook – as scammers use fake profiles to spy on you. Twitter is different, as you will add lots of people you don’t know – but ensure the tweets look like a human is “tweeting” and get to know the person before clicking on their links. You can easily block people on Twitter and remove their ability to send you direct messages.
  6. Be careful when using Wi-fi, as the security isn’t quite to the same level as a traditional connection. That’s not to say that you should avoid using it – but don’t click on links in your inbox or in text messages you have received.
  7. Updates from friends that claim to be the video of the body of Osama Bin Laden or ‘My Ex-Girlfriend Cheated on me… Here is my revenge!’ posts (and a whole host of others) are spam. Don’t click on them and delete immediately.
  8. Most sites have a “report spam/abuse” addresses if you suspect a post of being spam. Spammers do change (and get rid of) accounts regularly, but even so – it is essential to report suspicious activities.
  9. Don’t enter your Facebook login anywhere other than Facebook.com.
  10. Browse the security sections, such as http://twitter.com/about/security and http://www.facebook.com/security, just to keep you up-to-date and aware of things to avoid.

If you have been caught off-guard and think you have been attacked, immediately change your password, delete posts/uninstall the Facebook app, inform the website administrator that you suspect a post is spam, and run a virus scan on your computer.

Author: James Brack writes regular commentary on current topics relating to SEO, social media security and computer forensic news




About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

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16 Response to Social Media: Top 10 Security Tips

  1. TrafficColeman on June 10, 2011

    People are always trying to get something out of you. To be safe, if you don’t know them, then don’t accept them.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  2. Aswani on June 10, 2011

    Thanks a lot for sharing these great tips. I have been watching it from long time especially on sites like facebook where link spamming is getting more and more common these days. I have fallen prey to the same at few occasions but not anymore. I will surely follow all your tips to stay safe. Keep up the excellent work…!

  3. david @ spindle repair on June 12, 2011

    Thanks for the reminder, sites are getting better about security but we must do our part also.

  4. Lynda on June 12, 2011

    Zarko,
    Great points here. Look at the Bin Laden pics on facebook they went viral complete with a virus. Luckily I didn’t click on them. My mother-in-law’s email is hacked constantly. My friend’s facebook and email 3 times in a week. It’s crazy! Thank you for sharing :)

  5. Alex@Promotion inevitably on June 12, 2011

    Ok, and how to collect community for rare niche, for example, about forex systems?
    I think, It’s possible if you will add all interested people!

  6. custom logo design on June 13, 2011

    Hi Zarko

    Your article on the topic Social Media: Top 10 Security Tips includes the information that i was looking for.
    Your post includes great tips and you managed to keep it simple and understandable.
    Your post helps me to understand Social Media: Top 10 Security Tips really is, and i will surely recommend it to other people.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  7. greg@ascentive on June 13, 2011

    Its interesting that such a large majority of the people polled chose Facebook as having the most “security issues”. I actually think this is mostly a reflection of it simply being the most popular overall — combined with the fact that users upload much more personal information to Facebook compared to something like Twitter, for the most part.

    In this day and age its important to keep your Facebook profile private from random public Google searches.

  8. Zarko on June 13, 2011

    Hi Greg,

    you make an excellent point, facebook is the largest sharing platform with the largest number of users, so it is logical that there would be the most security issues. But at the same time, facebook being the largest and having incredible amounts of traffic is for that reason attracting the most spammers and scammers.

  9. Ryan Ward@Atlanta real estate on June 15, 2011

    Being a facebook user such security threats gets even scary sometimes and I agree about making our profiles private from Google searches but the internet does not provide privacy to any user so I’m doubting whether even this will work or not because we are also not short of hackers. I was more a twitter person but it got really spammy and now its facebook’s turn. It’s sad to see such top networking sites getting spammed.

  10. John Mak on June 17, 2011

    Hi Zarko,
    Nice tips here. I’ll try to share cause there are so many people on Facebook that don’t know what could happen! My little niece entered her FB password on an inbox message and they hacked her. Internet users should be aware and get informed more about internet security and usage. Thanks for sharing,
    John

  11. Jesica Wills on June 17, 2011

    Great security topic you have choosen. It is very important the security of accounts in social networking sites. Thanks for remind me to must more emphasis on security of social networking sites.

  12. Fill@iphone development company on June 21, 2011

    I’d rcommend to make antivirus check everyday, at least of your Windows fles Especialy if you spend the whole day online. Plus update your antivirus sytem up to professional version.

  13. Shivam Garg on June 23, 2011

    Hi zarko,
    Nice tips there.I think the password must contain both numerals and alphabets.People should seldom use their dob as password,its too predictive .Moreover one should never keep the passwords of different account same.

  14. DiNaRa on June 26, 2011

    Thanks a lot for the tips, but at the same time nothing can stop hackers if they want to destroy my profile for example. I don’t think that there is any software anywhere which can prevent us from spammers or somethiong of the kind. We can only be careful.

  15. v-pills vpills on June 30, 2011

    medias websites are getting too much personal, and it is not secure to allow others to see your information like home address or personal e-mail id.

  16. Martin@CDL Practice Test on July 6, 2011

    If i tell you how long my password is you’ll probably not gonna believe it. It’s 26 characters long and it’s not made all of letters. I’m not usually paranoid, but on the internet i believe i have a good reason to be. I also don’t use the same password everywhere, but their length is mostly around 20 chars.
    The good thing about this is i also get to exercise my memory :))

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