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social media risksHave you ever felt that your online activities were opening you up for social media risks? Has someone stalked you online and caused issues for you? Do you know what to do if these things happen? Then I have great news for you.

I want to share a few tips that can help you not only protect yourself, they can also help you understand more about social media risks. These tips will be a compilation of things I know and  from an interview that I conducted with my good friend, ShelleRae O’Connor,  who is a Survival Business Specialist.

ShelleRae, specializes in assisting business owners to setup disaster recovery processes for their businesses. She also gives great advice to business owners that will help them setup safety guards for their online activities. According to ShelleRae,

Facebook accounts are the leading ways for viruses to get on your machines and cause phishing attacks or hacks. Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare leave you open to telling someone when your home is empty, where you are, and how long you'll be there.

With this in mind, when using social media, it is important that you are careful when you share on social media because it can put you at risk.

Q1: What examples do you have regarding online or social media risks?

Yes, there are social media risks when you share your personal information online because, if the wrong people got their hands on it, they could steal your identity. One of the things you can put in place is to purchase a Post Office box, and use this address for anything online instead of your home address. This will help you protect your static location details when sharing your personal information online. Another way that you open yourself up to social media risks is when you share your location online, such as when you are going on vacation or away from your home for an extended time. Be careful who you share this information with because you could be opening your home up for a robber to break in. When it comes to public computer usage, think about all the times when you have used public WiFi which can open up your computers and mobile devices to anybody.

Q2: How can you protect yourself against these risks?

Now that we have talked about how you are opening yourself up for risks, lets take a look at a few examples of how you can protect yourself from social media risks. Below are examples that can help get you started with your online protection plan.

  • Assess online access or AOA just like SOS online is for monitoring online access. This is where you check the privacy settings of your social media accounts and make sure that your personal information is not being released to others without your permission. Here are a some of the links for popular social media websites: Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube & Pinterest.
  • Protect personal details as mentioned before by purchasing a Post Office box so that you can use that address instead of your home address online. Also, be careful what information you share on different websites. Ensure that websites are safe to use by checking them out at this link on the Sucuri website: http://sitecheck2.sucuri.net/  It tells you whether a website is safe to use.
  • There are many security software & devices that you can put into place like Sucuri. If you have the option for two-step authentication when logging in, use it because it adds a second level of security to accessing your logins. If you have the option to purchase a MiFi through your mobile device carrier, please do. According to WhatIs.com, a MiFi is a portable broadband device that allows multiple end users and mobile devices to share a 3G or 4G mobile broadband Internet connection and create an ad-hoc network.

Q3: Why is it important to put these security measures in place?

When you have security measures in place then your social media risks are lowered. One of the things you need to keep in mind is the old adage “Stranger Danger” because the more you let strangers learn about your personal information, the more you open yourself up to identity fraud or even personal harm. By protecting yourself, you can also cut down on loss prevention. This can be associated with risks you can face, such as credit card information being stolen or impersonation. Another place you should apply security is on your website and computer to help prevent DDos (Distributed Denial of Service) or Dos (Denial of Service) which basically is an attack where multiple compromised systems — which are usually infected with a Trojan — are used to target a single system causing a attack. These systems can be your website or email or even your computer or mobile devices.

 As you assess your social media risks, please keep these questions and answers so that you can be safe online. What are some of your tips for staying safe online and lower your risks?

Watch my recorded news segment on KRNV – Reno, NV with newscaster Melissa Carson hosting.