10 Tips for Safe Social Networking

networkingWith the increasing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and millions of people taking part in the new Internet phenomenon every day, it’s probably a good idea to learn about the dangers involved and things you can do to protect yourself from them. I’m sure many of you have heard about the negative sides of social networking, one of which is exposing your identity online. By joining the network, potentially thousands or millions of people can access, view and steal your (private) information. Some dangers include: virus and spyware attacks, hacking, stealing information, cyber-stalking and assuming false identities with intent to gain something from you.

I have found some interesting tips that may help you protect yourself and your family from harm:

1. Be careful with links you click – they could lead you to fraudulent web sites or sites which contain illegal material or malicious software.

2. Be sure that the message you receive is really from the person it says it’s from – maybe someone else sent you a message, pretending to be one of your contacts with the intent to gain access to your PC, online accounts or to find out where you live.

3. Don’t allow social networking services to scan your email address book – you don’t want to give away any of the email addresses of your contacts.

4. Type the URL (Web address) of the social networking Web site into the address bar directly or use your favorites – do not click through other sites or links that you may not be familiar with. They may be fake.

5. Be selective of who you accept as friend/contact – do not simply allow anyone into your network just because they requested it. You don’t know their intentions.

6. Before you join, inform yourself about the site and its policies (including privacy policies) – some Web sites may forward your information to other services, such as marketing and advertising companies.

7. What you write on the Internet is permanent and many people will be able to see it – so be careful what you write and who it’s intended for.

8. Be careful about installing extras (third party applications) – they could include cookies, spyware and viruses. Just because you are offered to install something you don’t have to do it. Inform yourself about the content first.

9. Do not use social networking at work – these sites are blocked in most companies but even if they’re not, it’s better to avoid them.

10. If you have kids, talk to them about social networking on the Internet and the dangers involved.

Source: Microsoft

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