Since 2003, every October has been recognized as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. A collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, Cybersecurity Awareness Month was developed to ensure online safety and security.
This year’s campaign theme is “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT,” the focus of which is to encourage personal accountability and to provide proactive tips to stay safe online. AJTC’s October blog series will focus on cybersecurity awareness and will begin with “Own IT.”
One of the more prevalent ways people connect online is through social media networks. It is critical for people to own their social media presence and understand how their information and posts are being shared. Let’s delve into some ways to stay safe on social media.
Control privacy and security settings – and who your friends are
Privacy and security settings exist to help you determine who sees your posts. You should feel free to limit how and with whom you are sharing information. Use and adjust the settings accordingly so that you are comfortable with the visibility of your online presence.
When you accept a friend or connection request, that person gains access to your profile and posts. If you are not comfortable with an individual seeing your photos or information, it may be wise to keep them off (or remove them from) your list of connections.
Keep personal information to yourself
It is not necessary to post private information on your social media profiles, and you should exercise caution when posting anything private about yourself. Remember that your posts can be seen by your network of connections and, depending on your privacy settings, can be shared and captured by others. The more information that you share, the easier you are making it for a hacker or other criminal to steal your data or find out where you live.
Protect your reputation
Once you have posted something, it’s out there. Even if you delete the post, there is the chance that someone has already seen it or that it still exists on a server somewhere. Use caution when posting photos and do not share anything that you would not want your family or future employers to see. Recruiters regularly use social media to screen candidates and many HR departments are implementing social recruiting as a key component of their hiring methods.
Social media can be a fun way for people to connect and interact online, but it should be used with caution. By being mindful of what information you share and staying vigilant about your photos and posts, social media can be an effective communication and networking tool.