As a parent of two girls I was excited when I was asked to use EST Smart Security 6 and share my findings with you all. Last month I focused upon the features that ESET Smart Security 6 provides and how to set it all up. You can see my review of that on my ESET Smart Security – The Protection We’ve Been Looking For blog post. This month I want to talk to you all about being protected while you’re using social media. October is National Cyber Security Awareness month and I don’t know that we all keep our security in mind while we’re watching YouTube videos or chatting with friends on Facebook or Twitter.
Personally, I spend copious amounts of time on Facebook and Twitter. It’s so easy to access wherever I am, there are times when I’m laying in bed, resting but still able to interact. It’s amazing how far we’ve come…the days when my chronic pain is too bad for me to go out and interact with folks aren’t spent in isolation because I can connect on social media. BUT there are risks involved with this development of technology which we have to be aware of and protect ourselves and our families from.
Tips for Protection on Social Media from ESET
Don’t give too much away…
Be careful how much you give away about yourself in your “About” profile (on the far left of your profile page). The more you add, the more an identity thief can learn about you straight away.
Many people like to say as much about themselves to make them seem more interesting. Resist this, your friends know how interesting you are! So no clues to your home address, mother’s maiden name, age or relatives should be given. You can add your phone number but this can be locked to friends only or even just yourself and Facebook. It can be useful for Facebook to know your mobile number as they can use it to alert you of suspicious activity.
Keeping your private stuff private
Facebook gives you the option to control your privacy settings, although by default it opens up your info to more or less anyone. So, let’s look at Facebook’s Privacy Settings in detail. These are found under the arrow at the far right of the Facebook window. Click on the arrow and then click the Privacy Settings tab. This opens up a menu bar that governs what Facebook can do with the information it holds about you.
Who can see your timeline?
Now go to Timeline & Tagging. This allows you to determine how much or how little of your timeline is seen by others and whether you want to be “tagged” or not.
Who can access your personal data?
This set of options is probably the most important on Facebook as it allows you to control what third parties can access to your Facebook profile.
A Facebook friend is not forever
Unless you are using Facebook for marketing purposes, think about the actual ‘friends” you really want to connect with. For example that guy who you kind of knew in the your first dorm room? The random woman you once met on holiday. Do you have any idea what they are doing now? Are they trustworthy? When was the last time you heard from them? You get the picture. A little pruning of the Friends list is a good idea every now and again. One more tip, don’t publicly announce holidays or other absences on Facebook and use Facebook email to communicate directly with friends.
Set the controls on YouTube
This deserves a special mention simply because of the popularity of the video sharing site among teenagers. Like Facebook, Google states that no-one under 13 should use the site. However the safest bet is to set up a child user account which will block any inappropriate content. You can also turn off comments to prevent your kids being abused or bullied by other users and stop them from doing the same. A quick review of the comments on virtually any YouTube video will demonstrate how nasty these can be – a practice known as “Trolling”.
With regards to social media safety tips, we have a recent WLS blog post that is great, and features Bieber (great for SEO given his high profile) which discusses Five Social Media Posts you should never click.
ESET provides a free tool called Social Media Scanner that can scan your Facebook and Twitter to protect you and your friends’ timeline, messages and newsfeed from malicious objects.
ESET Helps Protect Against Risks on Social Media
When you purchase ESET Smart Security 6 you also get their Social Media Scanner. Wether you’re logged into Facebook or not, once you install ESET Social Media Scanner it protects your profile from malicious content by providing Facebook security scans of your wall, newsfeed and private messages. It scans these areas looking for any malicious links and if it finds any you’re immediately notified by email with instructions on how to clean the threat.
Installing the Social Media Scanner is very simple, I just went to this link:ESET Social Media Scanner. It asked me for approval to access my approval for the app to access my data and scan it. Next I was asked if it could post on my profile that I was using Social Media Scanner and finally it hit the main screen where I clicked to perform a scan.
The scan was completed and I found I had not threats but there were some on my friends walls which I was notified of. Thankfully they weren’t actually threats, they were links I knew but if they were threats I could have the system notify my friend or I could directly.
Tips to Avoid Theft of Your Device from ESET
Password-protect your computing devices.
While it sounds obvious, if anyone steals your device they will have to defeat your password to get at your data and accounts, which will significantly slow attackers. Although it is not impossible to defeat password protection on a digital device, it adds a useful layer of protection, buying you time to locate and recover the device.
Always backup your files.
Why? Even if you can’t recover a stolen device that does not mean you have to lose all your information and software. Regular backups are the ultimate defense against theft of your files. There are plenty of options for backup these days including online backup. Taking the time to setup backup really pays off if a device is stolen, helping reduce the pain involved in re-creating the sensitive content.
Use tracking software to help get your stolen device back.
Why? Getting your stolen device back is not impossible, particularly if the device itself can tell you where it is and you can communicate with it using a sort of “remote control” via SMS or other methods. You may even be able to communicate with the person who has it. (Here’s an example of how one piece of anti-theft software for PCs.) However, it is not recommended that you physically confront the thief for safety reasons. Always work with your local law enforcement.
Don’t tempt thieves with unattended mobile devices, particularly in public places.
Why? Leaving your computer or mobile device unattended in a car, airport or restaurant is akin to asking for it to be stolen. In a recent survey we found that 1 in 5 stolen devices were taken from a car, 12% from an airport, train, bus, or other public transportation, and 11% from a restaurant or coffee shop. (Here’s an example of anti-theft software for Android devices.)
Encrypt sensitive data
Why? Storing sensitive data in encrypted files prevents anyone exploiting your data if your computer is stolen. Note: File encryption is available free on recent version of both the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X operating systems. This step is a lot easier than it used to be, so the pain level is low these days (unlike in years past).
Bonus tip. Think about removing sensitive data from your device.
Why? Your computer may interact with sensitive data but it does not need to store all of it right there in one place. Consider using encrypted removable media for sensitive data and carrying that separate from the computer. Maybe leave sensitive work files on the company network and access remotely over a secure connection. This way, if “bad things” happen, you’ll have much lower likelihood that the bad actors got off with critical information.
In today’s age it’s not easy keeping up with the changes and risks in social media but we ARE living our lives online and we must be sure that we’re investigating and protecting ourselves appropriately.
To find out more head over to the ESET Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter. ESET Smart Security received the esteemed PTPA (Parent Tested Parent Approved) Seal of Approval, the most publicized and highly recognized award seal in North America.
5 Eset products (valued at $59.99 each)
1 x $100 Target Gift card
1 tablet preloaded with Eset software (Choice of Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tab or Google Nexus)
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.