There are billions of smartphone users globally right now. Most of them are young adults who consider social media their second home. We need to have access to social media no matter where we are. And the need for getting the latest scoop from friends and media only becomes stronger.
Social media undoubtedly has many optimistic points, but the dangers linger close by. Social media is not always the friendly place we would like it to be from people with fake accounts, misinformation, and malicious links. Thus, it is essential to recognize the threats and learn how the defend yourself.
These factors are involved in the significant social media risks. In some cases, these are individual users’ choices making them vulnerable.
Using same passwords
A small percentage of social media users change their passwords regularly. The rest just keep using the same password for all their accounts, making it easy for hackers to hack into their account and misuse it.
Moreover, some people use obvious passwords which anyone can guess. Users also tend to choose passwords representing dates of birth, names, any family member’s names. Also, avoid using pets’ names, addresses, or any other easily accessible personal information as your passwords.
A study conducted in the US has shown that 35% of users never change their passwords. Do not fall into this category, and make it a rule to update your passwords frequently. At least create lengthy ones, contain special characters, and have no distinguishable words.
- Don’t use weak passwords like 12345678 or qwerty that hackers can easily guess.
- Always create a unique combination with at least one numeric, one special character, and one uppercase.
- Keep the length of your password more than 12 characters because it takes much longer to crack a 12-character password.
Each of us has that one friend who just can’t help but share everything on social media. They keep sharing every little detail of their lives with the world. Sadly, posting everything about yourself online is not a safe decision.
When you overshare online, it becomes easy for hackers to target you. They can get access to your data like your date of birth, address, contact number, and so on.
Once they have this information, they can misuse it in many ways. They can use it to hack into your accounts or even stalk you. The data can be used to scam you or even sell it to other third-party companies.
- Avoid sharing too much personal data on social media.
- Also, use privacy settings on social media to hide your personal information from strangers.
- Beware of contacting strangers online; you never know what purpose a person holds.
It’s a type of bullying that happens on the internet. About 41% of Americans say that they have faced harassment online. The victim is harassed, threatened, or humiliated through digital technologies like social media, email, or text messages.
The problem with cyberbullying is that it’s challenging to track and stop. The bully can remain anonymous, and the victim can feel helpless and alone.
Moreover, cyberbullying can have severe psychological consequences for the victim. They can trigger anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem.
- If you are being cyberbullied, don’t keep silent. Speak up and tell somebody about it.
- Many organizations can help you deal with cyberbullying.
- You can also save the records of bullying, block that bully and report the incident to social media. Many social media platforms are serious about it and take decisive actions.
Identity theft or impersonation
Identity theft is a serious crime where somebody steals your personal information like your name, date of birth, and so on and uses it to commit fraud. Moreover, in 2020, there will be about 1.4 million identity theft cases, and it’s speculated that the figures will increase only with time.
They can use this information to open fake accounts in your name, take out loans, or even buy property. The outcomes of identity theft can be dire.
- You must avoid sharing your personal information with anyone unless you trust them completely.
- If you ever come through the case of someone impersonating you, report that person.
- Next, be aware of all your friends and contacts about that account and convey to them that it’s not you.
Phishing is an attack where the hacker sends you a message that looks like it’s from a legitimate organization, like your bank or social media platform. The message asks you to provide your personal information like login credentials, credit card details, and so on.
The purpose behind this attack is to steal personal information. The hacker can use this information to commit fraud or even steal your money.
- Don’t trust messages that ask for your personal information. If you receive bizarre messages from friends via Messenger or another app, double-check them. It might be that your friend has become involved in fraudulent chain messages.
- Even if the message looks like it’s from a legitimate organization, always verify the source before providing any information.
- Whenever accessing any third-party page from social media, always use a Virtual Private Network. Download VPN services to ensure the safe passage of data between users’ devices and intended destinations. Thus, it can protect you from unsafe HTTP websites that attempt to steal your information or other assets.
Social media is a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it also comes with its own set of privacy and security concerns. Be aware of the dangers and take steps to protect yourself. Use privacy settings on social media, be careful about what you share, and don’t trust messages that ask for your personal information.