6 tips on how to stay private and secure on Social Media Day

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Today (June 30th) is social media day. OK we know every day feels like a day for social media but this is the actual official World Social Media Day created by Mashable 8 years ago. So to mark the occasion we thought we’d give our six top tips on how to make social media profiles as private as possible in conjunction with Nord VPN…

More than 3 billion people around the world use social media each month. And the numbers are still growing rapidly. According to 2018 Global Digital suite of reports, the count of people using the top platform in each country has been increasing by almost 1 million new users every day. With such striking numbers, it’s not a surprise that June 30th marks the eighth official celebration of Social Media Day.

Even though social media plays an extremely significant role in our everyday lives, internet security experts warn that users are still not aware of possible threats. This year has revealed that social media platforms have some serious flaws when it comes to the privacy and security of users’ personal data. Remember the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, MyFitnessPal or the previous breaches of LinkedIn and Snapchat.

“The Social Media Day was created to celebrate the positive outcomes, but it might be a perfect time to rethink what we share and how we interact there. Today social media is much more different than it was a few years ago,” says Daniel Markuson, Digital Privacy Expert at NordVPN.

“It all started with the launch of MySpace in 2003, and then Facebook in 2004. In 15 years social media platforms has redefined how we communicate with family and friends, entertain, work, and even shop. It has revolutionized the world as we know it, and as such, it deserves a day of recognition.”

According to the NordVPN Digital Privacy Expert, the highest privacy concerns related to social media activities are cyberstalking, social profiling, third-party information sharing, and warrantless searches.
 
Even if you are not concerned about those privacy threats (although you should be), you may not like the idea of potential employers being able to see your party pictures. Beyond that, internet security is a growing concern in many countries with rising levels of surveillance both by the governments and businesses. And there are no guarantees that your data will be truly secure or that it won’t end up in the wrong hands.

Nevertheless, we can still maintain some privacy on social media platforms. Protecting your social media profile and staying active at the same time may sound quite troubling at first. But it all becomes easier when you know what to look for and what to fix.

Use Strong, Unique Passwords

The most popular password is… ‘password.’ People are so overwhelmed with how many accounts and passwords they need that they go the easy way. Don’t do that. You need to change your passwords regularly, preferably every 3 months, and use a combination of capital letters, numerals, letters, and punctuation. For example, if you live on Flower Road, you can make your password ‘fL0w3rR04d!’.

Use Two-factor Authentication

You should also enable two-factor authentication or at least login verification. This feature adds an extra security layer by requiring one more authentication step after entering your password. Have in mind that it’s not every time you log in. It’s only for when you log in from an unknown device.

Beware of Phishing Scams

You receive a message saying that your account has been hacked, and you need to click the link to restore your account. You click on it, enter your login details, and voila, you’ve been hacked! That was a fake email and a fake site, and you wouldn’t know until your information gets stolen. The key rule – don’t click on any links shared by people you don’t know.

Revoke Access to Third-party Apps

During your social media life, you have probably used some third-party apps for photo editing, gaming, etc. Check whether you are still using all of the apps that you have permitted access to view your account. We recommend revoking access to applications that are no longer in use, as well as any suspicious apps.

Take Care of Your Social Media Accounts

Check your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram privacy settings, as well as all other social media platforms you use. In most cases, there are a few ways to manage who can see your status updates, photos, check-ins or if your profile is visible to search engines outside of those platforms. Finally, it is always a good idea to share without oversharing. Consider an option not to use geotags – not necessarily all of your followers need to know the location of your house.

Use a VPN

On a final note, most of us go to social media to kill some time of our daily commute, while waiting for a bus or to post some nice pictures from a favourite cafe. However, if you log in to your social media accounts on a public WiFi hotspot, keep in mind that you are putting your account security at risk. If you must do that, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service like NordVPN, which will encrypt your Internet data and protect your identity and personal information from hackers or identity thieves.

 

Chris Price