3 Safe Social Networking Tips

Social Networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc are great for connecting with others. But you must exercise some caution or you might end up getting some bad results. Below are three to keep you safe out there:

Be careful who you add as a friend to your social networking account.
Day in and day out you probably post personal information such as names of people you know, where you work, where you’re currently at, what you’re doing, etc. Not to mention other personal information is littered across the site, potentially phone numbers, addresses, where you go to school, where you work, etc. This information can be used against you in many different ways, (such as how personal info is often used as security questions for online accounts to reset your password) so be careful who you grant access to your social networking account.

Keep a close eye on what applications you add. There are many applications on social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc which enhance our social networking experience. What we often don’t consider is what kind of privileges we’re bestowing to the people who wrote the software. Just as programs you install on your computer can do malicious things, apps you add to your profile can do malicious things as well, or in the very least unexpected things. Things like giving programs the ability to post to your profile without needing your approval, giving apps access to information about you on your profile that they don’t necessarily need to know to perform their intended function, and just generally giving these apps access to a lot of information about you and a lot of privileges on your page that you don’t necessarily want someone else you’ve never even met to have.

Watch out for strange messages from your friends which are full of bad spelling and grammar, and contain links to external pages (youtube is a popular scapegoat, but any page could be used). Even if your friend isn’t exactly a Harvard professor, bad grammar and spelling in messages is often a tell tale sign of a malicious or spam message that your friend didn’t really write. There are worms and other malware, a prime example being the Koobface worm, which spread fake messages asking you to check out a video in a link, or some other action. The link actually leads to an attack site where a script will try to install malware on your computer. Not exactly the gold you were expecting at the end of the rainbow, huh?