How to be safe on social media

cyber criminals
cyber criminals

Tips to help you stay safe on social media

1.Be careful what you post about yourself on line. Limit the amount of personal information

2. Understand, utilize and frequently review security and privacy settings for each social network you participate in.

3. Avoid the temptation of revealing your day to day schedule via social media.

4. Avoid the use of location based services that automatically update your where about online.

5. Do not post photos of your family members especially children.

6. Limit the number of social sites you sign up for. The more you join , the more vulnerable you are.

Facebook and twitter are among the popular social network sites that have over the years become a trendy means of communication, particularly among the youth. Most of these networks provide a quick interactive platform for people to keep in touch with friends and family, as well as meet new people and expand social circles. The purpose of social networking sites primarily is to allow users establish friendship, romantic relationships and business connections. Different networking sites offer different features, but majority allow the user to provide information about him or herself to varying degrees of detail.

As harmless as it seems, posting too much detail of one’s self on social networks is in fact a security threat. It is impossible to comprehend why a total stranger would want to hurt you considering that you might have never done anything to them. But perhaps that’s just the way the world is-- A cruel place, with ruthless people hiding behind innocent smiles. On the other it could be someone who wants to get back at you for something you did to them knowingly or unknowingly.

If you find yourself constantly updating your status on Facebook or MySpace, about what you do, or who you are with or where you are, the fact is you are not alone. A report from digital crime indicates that 38% of users of social networking sites, post updates indicating where they will be for the week end, vacation plans etc. Another 17% have been reported to post residential as well as work place addresses.

Is social media causing more loneliness among the youth?

  • Yes
  • No
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How Criminals use Social Media to get to You

When you feel like you have endured enough of stress from work and therefore deserve a fun filled vacation, it is common that you will develop the desire to tell friends about it. Whether it is showing off or not, you decide to share the idea with your lovely friends on face book. So you update your status. “Jinja here I come. Am taking a week off with my family to enjoy the fresh breeze at the source of the Nile, starting this week weekend. Will keep you posted”.

As if that is not enough, your profile has details of your work place and home address. You have posted a lot of photos of you in your house showing off your expensive hi-tech home theater system, a huge plasma screen and your trendy collection of shoes. You are a very social person and have about 400 friends on face book. Now, One or two of these friends survive on burglary for a living without your knowledge. They take a good look at the pictures and the details on your profile, and plot for a visit. A week later, you arrive from your vacation to find your valuable items missing without a trace.

Posting photos and revealing a lot of personal information will make you vulnerable to buglers, stalkers, sexual predators, identity thieves and even kidnapers. This information is posted as an innocent way of opening up to attract friends and possibly find true love. But remember not everyone looking at your profile has honest intentions of becoming friends. There are numerous cases of violent crime reported all over the world, relating to the use of social media.

Talal Al-khatib an author for Discovery news reports an incident that occurred back in 2011. 28 year old Josh Tyree had arranged a date with 24 year old Tara bell, after a spell of interaction through one of the social networking sites. Instead of a romantic evening, Tyree was met by two others in addition to Bell. The others were Latasha ward, who served as a lookout, and Bo Guedea, who robbed Tyree at gun point and later shot him in the leg.

In another incident reported in 2010, An 18 year old Australian animal lover believed she was pursuing a job offer with an animal welfare group when she met 20 year old Christopher James Dannevig. They met at a creek south of Sydney, which she thought was a camping trip to scout for injured animals. While there, Nona Dannevig murdered the young woman


A post by Identity guard in 2010 shows Gordon snow assistant Director Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) outlining some of the serious cyber-crimes. One of the most eye catching cases is that of ‘Data mining’

“Cyber thieves use data mining on social networking sites as a way to extract sensitive information about their victims. This can be done by criminal actors either on a large or small scale or for example, in a large scale data mining scheme, a cyber-criminal may send out a ‘getting to know you quiz’ to a large list of social networking site users. While the answers to these questions do not appear to be malicious on the surface, they often mimic the same questions that are asked by financial institutions or email account providers when an individual has forgotten their password. Thus an e-mail address and the answer to the quiz questions can provide the cyber-criminal with the tools to enter your bank account, or credit card in order to transfer money, or syphon your account. Small scale data mining may also be easy for cyber criminals if social networking users have not properly guarded their profile or access to sensitive information. Indeed some networking applications encourage users to post whether or not they are on vacation, simultaneously letting burglars know when nobody is at home”

As fun as interaction on social media can be, it is always wise to proceed with precaution. The incidents mentioned above are a few of the numerous Cases of cyber-crime linked with the use of social media. It is also important to note that it can happen to you or someone you know at any time. You might have heard of such cases in your area and probably dismissed them off as mere tales. You may also imagine that the victims of these incidents were too naïve and gullible and that you can’t be conned in similar style. But remember the more information you expose to the public, the more vulnerable you become

social media site
social media site

Should Children use social media?

  • Yes
  • No
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Tips to Help stay Safe on Social Networking sites

1. Be careful what you post about yourself on line. Limit the amount of personal information because not everyone is a genuine friend. Identity thieves rely on this information to impersonate your person. You don’t have to accept every friend request. Remember criminals will use fake profiles to obtain information from you. Everything you post on the internet is permanent. Even if you delete your social network profile, criminals can print text or photos or save them on a computer.

2. Understand, utilize and frequently review security and privacy settings for each social network you participate in. This is because some site may change security settings periodically. Set your privacy settings so that only friends can see your profile and content.

3. Avoid the temptation of revealing your day to day schedule via social media. You can never know who is watching. Minimize exposing places you visit frequently, or activities that you do as a routine. This will prevent criminals from tracking you down easily. Remember not everyone is a friend out there. Also avoid letting people know when you are not at home, or when you are alone at home.

4. Avoid the use of location based services that automatically update your where about online.

5. Do not post photos of your family members especially children. Child sacrifice is rampant especially in the developing world and such revelations can make the children vulnerable. Resist the temptation of posting photos of expensive household items because they attract buglers. Children and teenagers are more vulnerable to threats from social networking sites. Parents therefore should actively take the initiative to explain internet safety to their children in order to keep them safe.

internet scam
internet scam

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