May 23, 2012

There Is No Defense Against You

Every social media platform on the Internet today has security problems of some sort. Typically, the more popular the platform, the bigger the problems. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and similar social media are all lucrative hunting grounds for spammers, phishers and hackers because they have large – and usually pretty relaxed – user bases.

Experts in the online security industry frequently moan and groan about all of the problems with social media. True, some services aren’t as sharp about protecting user privacy and other digital defense measures as they ought to be. A lot of them try to plug as many security holes as they can, but it doesn’t matter how top-notch their development team may be — there will always be one big security flaw that they can’t counter.

You.

Well maybe not you exactly, but somebody just like you who doesn’t pay as much attention to online security as you do.

You know the type. They frequent three or four social media hangouts and have the same username and password on all of them. They share personal data with seven or eight favorite Facebook apps, and just the other day they were working hard on Twitter to keep all of their friends up to date on their vacation schedule.

Of course, it’s hard to be sociable on social media and still keep an iron-clad grip on all of your personal data. Avoiding all of those Facebook app requests and dodging links from URL shortening services like Bitly can seem downright unfriendly.

Here’s a simple rule to follow that will make your personal online security a lot simpler: Assume that any information you use or share on any social media platform at some point is going to be stolen. Manage the information you share accordingly. It’s really more a type of damage control than real “security,” but it can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

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