Victim of hacks and scams? The dos and don’ts of using social media and apps | tech | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Mar 26, 2017-Sunday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Victim of hacks and scams? The dos and don’ts of using social media and apps

tech Updated: Sep 14, 2016 20:42 IST
Anirban Ghoshal
Social Media

Using social networking sites and apps can be fraught with serious security risks, both for your person and your data.(Shutterstock)

Social networking sites and applications are increasingly becoming a part of our everyday lives. We use them to communicate with people around us, network for jobs, and connect with others with similar interests.

However, using social networks and apps can be fraught with serious security risks, both for your person and your data.

Here are some tips to make your social media experience better:-


# Use a strong password and use privacy settings. Insist your friends do the same.

# Do not share everything on social media or upload anything you wouldn’t want everyone to see. Make sure only your accepted friends or followers can see what you put up on Facebook and Instagram. On Twitter, share your opinion carefully so as not to hurt others’ sentiments or share something which is radical in nature.

# Even after taking adequate “precautions”, leaks, hacks, and privacy policy revisions are not unheard of. Don’t assume what you post is secure, despite the settings. Ensure that it is HTTPS protocol when connecting to social networking sites, especially when using public hotspot. Be wary if your social networking service only uses HTTP for login credentials.

# Whenever possible, organise contacts into “categories”. Most of us do this between friends and family anyway, but from a security standpoint it might also make sense to separate “best friends” from “person I met yesterday afternoon”.

# Verify friend/follower requests. Most scams start with someone bluffing their way into your friends list. Be sure of who you are sharing your information with. Verify links, attachments, downloads, emails; in short, anything you receive. Set up proper spam filters or report abuse or spam wherever applicable.

# Even trusted friends could have had their accounts hacked. Don’t wire that “emergency money” until you can voice-verify. Investigate exactly what information any third-party add-ons, games, extensions, etc. will be privy to.

# Does that poker game actually need access to your contacts list? Read up on the security tips and instructions provided by the social network itself, as well as what trusted security professionals and sources have to say.


# Don’t give away your password or use the same password for any other services. If a leak at Facebook causes your password to become public, you don’t want a hacker being able to use that same password to log into your gmail or Courseworks.

# Don’t put more information about yourself than is absolutely necessary. Hackers, scammers, stalkers can use that information to do anything from guessing answers to security-questions, to impersonating you when trying to scam another user.

# On that same note, be careful how much live information you’re putting out there. Don’t advertise when you are going on vacation, when your possessions might be left unattended, or boast about that super expensive thing you just bought.

# Be aware of auto-geotagging. Some services will automatically tag your status updates with GPS information. If you don’t want everyone to know where you are, make sure your social networking service doesn’t turn on this “feature” for your “convenience” automatically.

# Everything you post, share or upload stays on in the virtual world, nothing “disappear” from the internet. Even the picture that you deleted from your account is still sitting on Facebook’s server somewhere.

# In a professional setting, be mindful of inadvertently letting slip sensitive information such as new security software, procedures, that could harm your company or may get you fired!