Keep yourself safe online

Working with social media every day, we notice things that most normal platform users wouldn’t necessarily. We tap away online, in and out of client’s social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and occasionally we will notice glitches, changes or oddities that we report as unusual. One thing that is massively apparent, is that there is a very high percentage of people who have no idea about online security and what can happen if they don’t take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

In fact, 59% of people think that online accounts are safe from threats or scams and that they won’t be outsmarted by a phishing scam.

Facebook is a very good example of a platform that people trust and use in a way that opens them up to criminals. People happily give their private information to Facebook because it’s a big platform and trusted. We are not saying that Facebook are fraudsters, but all it takes is for a criminal to track your profile down and they then have your full name, date of birth, where you live, names of your kids, family and friends. Even if your security settings are tight! Have you ever used Facebook to login to another site? We all do it but try not to. You are, without really thinking about it handing over yet more data, possibly telephone numbers and card details. Of course, Facebook protect themselves with buttons such as, ‘click continue’ if you agree to etc. We do it automatically. Why? Because we are always in a hurry and this is where the criminal’s step in and take advantage. If we can’t remember a password or have to fill out ‘another’ sign up form and we can do it through Facebook, most will opt for the easy approach. Which is why Facebook do it. The more data we give them, the more powerful they become as a marketing tool.

New additions to our online world such as ‘Alexa’ and ‘Google Mini’ are also ways to extract information and financial details. Experts have predicted that these devices are open to threats and this was made a reality when, Mirai malware was used to take control of internet-facing webcams and other devices into botnets. They were then used to launch a co-ordinated assault against Dyn, one of several companies hosting the Domain Name System (DNS). The attack caused havoc for major sites, Twitter, Paypal, Netflix and Reddit.

Word to the wise, please protect yourselves online. Here are a few of our Social Butterflies top tips to keep yourselves safe whilst online.

· Keep your firewall and anti-virus software up to date.

· Don’t use open hotspots when you sign into social media.

· Don’t automatically link to sites through social media platforms because it’s ‘easier’.

· Use strong passwords using a mix of letters, numbers and other keys.

· Keep your social media profiles security tight and up to date.

· Remove any apps or devices attached to social accounts, itunes or similar if you don’t use them anymore. If an app is still attached to a social account or itunes, it is still collecting data and tracking.

· Don’t post or say anything online that you wouldn’t say or do in person.

· Be careful about who you accept as friends/followers online. Human nature loves to be popular, but it’s not real and can cause you issues further down the line. If you don’t know them, don’t add them!

· Be wary of plug in’s. They are normally written by third parties and not all are trustworthy.

· Search yourself and see what’s out there. There may be things you would rather were not in the public domain.

· If you have anything in the house such as Alexa and Google Mini, make sure you have all your security settings on and be mindful of what these devices do. They listen 24/7.

· Check your settings on your browsers and if you don’t want to see adverts or share your data when using search engines, adjust accordingly.

We hope that this article has made you think about your online presence and we have given you some helpful tips. There are so many more things you can do to protect yourself online and we have only touched the surface, so please research into your devices and stay safe.

If anyone has any stories they would like to share with us, feel free to let us know. Obviously, the more people talk about their experiences it makes things harder for criminals.

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