Social Networking and Danger!
When I was a growing impressionable child, my aunt gave me the best advice of my lifetime. Of course, I did not know that at the time.
I was very upset with someone and wrote them a note. I wanted her opinion on what I wrote. I handed the note to her and she shoved it aside and motioned me to sit down at her kitchen table. She sat across from me on her higher-than-any-other-chair in the kitchen and we were eye to eye. (Note: She was 4’10” at that time. Now at the age of 87 she is 4’5”).
She told me to listen carefully to what she was about to say as it would be useful for the rest of my life. Then she leaned in and said, “If you remember nothing else, remember this: Never write or say anything to anyone before you ask yourself if you would care, if whatever it is, it were published on the front page of the Newspaper? Would you care if all your friends in school read this, or the ultimate test is would you want your mother to read what you wrote?”
She was so right. I have indeed remembered and used that information more often than not. One time I forgot it and paid a high price for it. I hope I never forget it again.
First my disclaimer: I am a low-technology person, who has heard some very disturbing news about current technology that is quite popular. It interested me so much that I decided to do some research to discover the real truth. I was amazed.
This is leading up to a story I watched today on HLN, the news channel. They were talking about safety and protecting ourselves while on the internet. They said three very pointed things and I forgot to write them down. However, I am sure that they are covered in this hub. Please bear with me.
Specifically the news article zeroed in on one social networking site. Once I am finished here you will understand why.
Apparently, this site is making great strides in providing security for its online customers. That’s you and me!
There are many dangers in cyber space: identity theft, location of where we live and vital account numbers, are just a few of the dangers. The most dangerous sites are the social network sites where we are most vulnerable when we think we are among friends.
Please remember, when something goes onto the internet it is forever on the internet, even if we think we have erased it.
I will start with FaceBook, as it is the social network featured by HLN.
One fantastic feature is its Security Quiz.
This Quiz not only asks important questions, but explains the answers in detail, and in simple to understand language.
While taking the Quiz, you will learn to make sure you have the most updated version of your browser. This is for security reasons, not so you can get the fastest or more sophisticated programs.
During the 7 questions that comprise the Quiz you will learn how to create a safe password, what information should not be shared, how to safe guard the information you download and what and when tonotdownload. Also you will learn safety about your web browser. You will learn about setting your operating system to maximize your safety. You will learn to control the information you share and you will learn about scams.
If you are a member of FaceBook, I suggest you take the Security Quiz and carefully follow the advice there. In my quest for truth concerning internet safety I learned a lot. Following are just a few of the main points I learned:
Some websites are malicious and contain code that can cause your browser to act with out your consent.
A worm called the Koob Face.
This site talks about what to do if you get infected by a worm; as well it discusses Spammy Wall Posts, inbox messages, and chat messages and much more.
There are fake notification emails, chain letters, and messages from phony FaceBook employees; suspicious applications.
We are told by this security to use caution when interacting with any applications and what to do if we suspect a violation.
The Quiz is very thorough and tells us in detail what and how to protect ourselves.
We often think of identity theft as something simply showing up on our credit report. That is just the beginning. It leads to other dangers. Remember the Craig’s List murders?
Again, once our information is put in cyberspace, it is always there; available to anyone with enough savvy to dig it out.
For instance Apple has an application that contains a GPS system. Anyone using that system can locate another user and know exactly where they are. In other words we can be tracked down simply by an app on a cell phone or an iPod.
Even though a site takes great precautions to keep us safe, however we must do our part; keep our eyes open and our brains aware.
We must never hesitate to report any suspicious “anything” that we notice. If we are wrong, no harm done. If we are right, well…we have done a service to all using that particular site. This reporting includes our email accounts.
I traveled to MySpace and did not discover a “security” area in the application. It may be there, and if so, it is incredibly hard to find.
I traveled to U-Tube and had basically the same experience. It’s amazing how many folks have “security” in their profile name.
Twitter proved a bit better. Twitter offered the following websites to check out software and other types of security: (these are only a sample of what Twitter offered):
There are way too many to list here. Check it out; you will not be disappointed.
Your profile should always be generic, nothing specific. No real address, occupation or phone numbers. Pictures should be kept to a minimum. Never include family pictures. I know this will not be a popular action. However, if you recall the women stalked, the families involved and murdered and maimed in home invasions by strangers, you might change your mind.
When you are driving around on the internet, do it with caution my friends.
Websites are often like “email on crack,” so said the HLN reporter.