February 2016 OIT Tip

Think Before You Post on Social Media


By Lodeika Vega, Applications Security Administrator

Think about the evolution of social media and networking sites. Who remembers Friendster, MySpace, MiGente, BlackPlanet and Classmates? Alright, I might be dating myself.

Today, we have a saturation of networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. The list goes on and on.

Let’s make a resolution (February resolutions are still okay) to try to be more conscious of what we do, where we go or what we post on these sites. Let’s be informed of the risks and how we can keep ourselves, family, friends and coworkers safe. The more information you post, the more vulnerable you become. Cyber-predators are out there, lurking, waiting to pounce on helpless victims, who are just going about their regular routine and innocently sharing their day-to-day activities.

You should know that regardless of your social media privacy settings, once you post and share any type of information on a social media site, it is no longer considered “private.” After your friends/followers have seen it, they can take screenshots … and you would never know. The friends, family and followers you trust could be leaving a digital trail of you, one that you may not be prepared to share widely.

With the Internet going almost completely mobile, I’m sure your favorite social media sites have a mobile version, or even an app for your phone or tablet. Yes, this is a convenience; yet still, be mindful of what apps you install on your mobile device, as you could be allowing access to your data without your knowledge, leading to the “accidental sharing” of your information.

You may want to think twice before sharing your location with Facebook or Instagram, and be sure to read prompts before clicking “yes,” as it could be a cyber-predator phishing for private information.

The risks of falling victim to a predator may include:

  • Identity theft/Impersonation
  • Harassment
  • Peer pressure
  • Loss of employment
  • Humiliation
  • Damaged business reputation
  • Damaged career or personal reputation

To learn what’s being shared, try Googling yourself. Or, better yet, set up a Google Alert, so you can learn what kind of information is being shared about you or your loved ones on a regular basis.

Remember, if you’re questioning whether you should post something, (pictures, statuses or locations), then you probably shouldn’t. Think twice and protect yourself!

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