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Social networking sites have revolutionized the way people communicate, making it easier than ever to interact with friends over the Internet. However, this new open communication has also come at a cost, in many instances, to people's privacy and making their sensitive information available to hackers.
In order to use social networks as securely as possible, Trend Micro has compiled tips on how to network safely on the most popular social sites.
The latest social networking site to take off, Pinterest, acts as a virtual pin board of photos and ideas you like online. Pictures and comments are not filtered, so inappropriate material and language can be shared.
Facebook changed the social media landscape and is now more accessible than ever. However, that also makes Facebook a prime target for hackers looking to steal passwords, usernames and credit card information and pesky spammers looking to pollute your Facebook wall.
To prevent yourself from becoming a target on Facebook there are a few things you can do.
It only takes 140 characters to Tweet, but one bad shortened URL and you'll have to take your computer into the shop.
It's important to promote yourself professionally, just be careful of over sharing.
Google Plus makes privacy customization as easy as dragging friends into different colored circles. Just make sure you're reading up on how else you can protect your private information.
While it can be fun to check in at places while out and about, keep in mind that you are sharing your location with all of your friends and followers. Even more importantly, checking in somewhere means you are not home and you are more susceptible to a break-in.
It's more likely than not that some of your Facebook friends aren't truly good friends of yours and that you don't actually want them knowing where you are at all times. To combat this, you can customize who sees your check-ins by creating custom security settings. These settings will also enable you to decide who sees what on your profile. You can also disable Places entirely if you don't want to be checked in and your friends will not be able to check you into Places. Learn how to customize Facebook settings.
As a courtesy to others, always ask before you check someone in and be sure to never check in at a home location if you don't want your address or the address of your friends or families to become public.
It is much easier to limit who sees your check-ins on Foursquare as most people have less friends on FourSquare, however, the battle for the coveted title of "Mayor" can make your location and daily pattern more susceptible to danger. As people check in daily and battle for mayorship, one's daily patterns can be detected. If you want to fly under the radar, be sure to keep most of your check-ins limited to your friends and not to share check-ins on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
There's one rule to live by when it comes to kids and social networks and that's to get involved. Live where your kids live; if they are on a social networking site, join, and make sure that you have full access to see what they post, who their friends are and be active in monitoring not only what's on their wall, but what they are posting.
Help protect your kids online:
It's no secret that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus can be used as a cyberbullying tool. Be sure to keep a close watch on your child's accounts to make sure that they are not being cyberbullied or are cyberbullying other kids. Make a deal with them that in order to have an account, they have to become your friend and let you see their full profile.
Keep an eye on your kids' posts and make sure their posts are private. Sit down with them and go through their privacy customization options to ensure that what they post isn't shared over the entire Web.
If a social networking site has age filters, make sure your children use their real date of birth so they are not exposed to mature content.
As more kids join upcoming social networking sites, like Pinterest, watch out for instances of cyberbullying or mean comments on items pinned or posted.