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5 commandments: Stay safe on social networking sites

Last updated on: May 14, 2014 18:37 IST

5 commandments: Stay safe on social networking sites

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Rahul Tyagi

However hard you try, there's no escaping social media today. So here's how you can protect yourself even while being out there. Read on!

Social media may have become part of our everyday lives but that doesn't mean all our information is out there for grabs.

Here are five really simple ways to protect yourself:

1. Choose a strong password

No brainer you think?

Experts believe that 60 per cent Internet users have their phone numbers as their passwords!

Make yours tough to crack.

Ideally it should be a combination of letters -- capital and small, numbers and special characters.

Software applications will find it difficult to crack such a password with an automatic algorithm.

Almost all major sites tell you how strong or weak your password is when you sign up, but you can always visit sites that verify it independently.

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2. Neglect Facebook apps

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Most of us use Facebook.

But did you know that for the last few years several Facebook accounts are being hacked?

The fault isn't at the server level but rather with malicious Facebook apps.

Remember not all Facebook apps are developed by the networking site. They are made by independent programmers who may not always have the noblest intentions.

A virus on Facebook can spread like wildfire -- from your friends' list to their lists and so on.

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Photographs: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
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3. Beware of short URLs

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URL shortening services such as Goo.gl or tinyurl.com are popular on social media websites such as Twitter that only permit limited characters.

But they also conceal the original link. Which means you will never know where the short URL leads to till you click on it... and that could well be a virus file ready to infect your machine.

Do not open short URLs unless they come from a trusted source.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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4. Pay attention to privacy settings

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Large companies often make small but crucial changes to their privacy policies.

Make sure you review your privacy settings regularly.

Facebook session logs also reveal the location.

So if you find your profile being accessed from any location that you've never visited, change your password and end that location session.

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Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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5. Always have two-step verification

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Some social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook (not in India yet) provide a two-step verification for extra protection.

A two-step verification enabled account will send you a code via SMS every time you attempt to sign in.

Your login process will be complete only after you enter the code into the system.

Use this verification process not just on your social media account but also the email account to which it is connected.

Not only will it make it easier for you to regain control of your account, it will also minimise the damage should there be a hacking attempt.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
Tags: SMS , India

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