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Protect Your Company with This Social Media Security Advice

Social media is an excellent tool for small businesses, yet, the use of social media by small business staff can definitely put the company in danger. Many small business owners and managers don’t realize this.

Recently, I was talking to employees of a credit union about what to do in a robbery. Before this presentation, police officers had staged a robbery in the same credit union. The fake robbery was so real, some of the tellers were brought to tears, thinking they were really getting robbed.

After they were filled in on what was happening, everyone on the team discussed it. One of the most telling moments is when one of the tellers shared her story. During the mock robbery, one of the “robbers” handed a teller a note. It said this: “Your husband works at Pine Street Motors. We kidnapped him this morning. He is being held at another location. If you hit the alarm and notify police, he’s going to be killed.”

How did the bad guys know that her husband worked at Pine Street Motors? They simply looked online. They found the name of the bank, and then found out that the teller was listed as working at the bank on social media. Her social media account was connected to her husband’s, and his account said that he worked at Pine Street Motors.

Yes, it was that easy.

Here are some tips for social media that you might want to share with your staff:

Don’t Tell the Internet Where You Work

Tell employees that it’s not a good idea to share too many details about their work on social media pages. Though you can’t stop them from adding their employer on Facebook, you can tell them how this information can be used against them and the company. Make sure that they understand that this information could backfire and harm everyone involved.

Teach Your Staff How to Use Privacy Settings

You should also teach staff how to manage their social media privacy settings. Ideally, they should have maximum protection on every account. The default settings are lacking, and those put them at risk for hacking. You should also tell them that even the highest settings that social media sites have won’t keep everyone out. However, this level of protection is better than nothing.

Create a Workplace Policy for Social Media Use

Set up a policy in your workplace for social media use. Make sure this policy covers what employees associated with your company can say and what is totally prohibited.

Stop Banning the Use of Social Media in the Office

The moment you ban the use of social media at work, that’s the moment that someone will sneak around and do it anyway. This, of course, leads to dangerous things, as they can try getting around the firewall and other things that make your network vulnerable.

Train Your IT Team

 Finally, make sure that your IT team is up to date on the latest ways to combat online-security issues. These teams must also know about the security risks that your business faces due to social media.

Additionally, the policy for employee social media use should be examined and updated quite regularly, and make sure to enforce it, too. Invest in anti-virus protection and make sure that all operating systems and browsers are always kept up to date when updates become available.

How to Delete Yourself from Social Media

Have you been thinking that it’s time to make the drastic choice to remove yourself from social media? Most of us were quick to join the social media bandwagon, but these days, you might have worries about privacy. Though it’s possible to delete yourself from social media, the process isn’t easy, and it might not be totally foolproof.

Why Do You Want to Leave?

Before getting into how to delete yourself from social media, it’s important to ask yourself why you want to leave. Experts say totally deleting yourself might not be the best move. For instance, a potential employer, who will more than likely search for you on social media sites, especially LinkedIn, might wonder what you are trying to hide. There is also the fact that removing yourself from social media can make you look boring, unhip, or illegitimate.

Deleting Your Accounts

If you are sure that you want to delete your social media accounts, there are sites that you can use to find out how. These include:

Are Deleted Accounts Really Deleted?

Even if you have deleted your social media accounts, it’s important to make sure that you are fully deleting them or simply deactivating them. Some sites, even after you delete the accounts, will continue to retain the data you supplied.

Delete All Social Media, Not Just The Big Four

If you are serious about deleting your social media account, make sure that you are looking beyond the big four: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Other sites have your data, too, including sites like Flickr, dating sites, blogs, support forums, Amazon, eBay, etc. There are also old social media sites you might not use anymore, like MySpace. Whether you have signed in lately or not, your old MySpace could be lurking out there.

What You Will Lose…and Gain…From Deleting Social Media Accounts

You will lose and gain when you delete your social media accounts. You stand to lose your marketing presence, for one, and you might not be able to go back. You also might lose touch with friends and family, or your sense of community. On the flip side, though, you will gain more time and probably have less anxiety.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Stop being a Social Media Idiot

Leave personal details off your Facebook page.

14DDoes the whole world—or even your private circle, many of whom you haven’t seen in person for years, or even at all—have to know you’re laid up from hernia surgery (i.e., vulnerable, defenseless)?

Try this experiment for a week: Assume that the only visitors to your Facebook are 1) future possible employers, 2) master gossip spreaders and reputation bashers, and 3) your future in-laws (if you’re not married). This should really change the game plan of how you post.

Never send naked photos of yourself.

Not even to your significant other. After all, in many cases of leaked nude images…the significant other is the leaker! If your lovey-dove wants to see you in your birthday suit, then present yourself that way in person—after you know for sure all the cameras in the room are turned off.

Enough with the selfies.

It’s gotten to a point where all selfies look alike: Some doofus holding up the phone and staring INTO the phone. Whatever happened to the nice images of yesteryear, where someone, posing nicely, was facing the viewer? Selfies are fine if you’re showing off your abs when the selfie next to it of 90 days ago shows the Pillsbury Dough Boy, but please, nobody is special enough to justify endless selfies, including those for which you corralled a bunch of people to take part in it.

Instagram is not for food images.

Don’t waste your time. Think “borrrrrring!” Who really wants to see your beet salad? If you want to promote your recipe skills, start a website.

“Like” only recent posts.

Nobody pays attention to likes on old posts.

Cross out cross-posting.

Post an item on your Snapchat story, then put it in a private message…NOT.

No ODRs, no oversnapping.

Avoid opening but not replying on Snapchat. Avoid double-snapping someone.

Say no to screengrabbing.

Read that again. Don’t grab a Snapchat unless you want the sender to know who did it.

For parents…

Be mindful of commenting on your teenagers’ pages. Be sincere if you must, like a congratulations for qualifying for the state wrestling finals.

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Set Privacy on these Social Media Apps

Just like older generations never thought that the dial phone in the kitchen could be dangerous (think phone scams), today’s kids don’t have a clue how hazardous smartphone apps can really be. They are a godsend to pedophiles, scammers and hackers. And let’s not forget other kids who just want to be cruel bullies.

14DParents should have informative discussions with their kids about the various apps out there. And it’s okay to forbid particular apps you aren’t comfortable with. Like Musicly, search “Musicly safe for kids” and see why. Apps aren’t as innocent as you think. They are potential gateways to some real creepsters out there—and that’s putting it mildly.

Applications have safety settings. Do you know what they are? How they work?

Instagram

  • A person with or without an Instagram account can view your images unless you have the security setting on for “Private Account” under “Options.”

Snapchat

  • Enable the self-destruct feature to destroy communications quickly after they are sent.
  • But don’t rely on this entirely, because it takes only seconds for the recipient to screenshot the text or sext into cyberspace.
  • Set the “Who Can Contact Me” setting to “My Friends” so that strangers posing as 13-year-olds don’t get through to your child.

Whisper

  • Don’t let the name fool you; Whisper is not anonymous, thanks to geotagging.
  • Go to your iPhone’s settings and change the location access to “Never.”

Kik

  • Kik is not anonymous, contrary to popular belief, because anyone can get ahold of a youth’s username on other social media, making it possible to then contact that person on Kik.
  • Under “Notifications” disable “Notify for New People.” This will put strangers’ messages in a separate list.
  • Don’t share usernames.

Askfm

  • This question-and-answer service attracts cyberbullies.
  • In the privacy settings, uncheck “Allow Anonymous Questions.”
  • The user should remain anonymous.

Omegle

  • This video-chatting service is a draw for pedophiles.
  • It should never be linked to a Facebook account.

Your worries are fully justified. Words, images, and video, are very powerful. Though the age of e-communications is here to stay, so are psychos. It’s their world too. Your kids, unfortunately, must share it with them, but that doesn’t mean they have to receive communications from them or be “friends” with them.

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

Parents: do You know your Teen’s Social Media Platforms?

With all the apps out there that individualize communication preferences among teens, such as limiting “sharing,” parents should still hold their breath. Face it, parents: times have changed. It’s your duty to discuss these applications with your kids. And parents should also familiarize themselves with the so-called temporary apps.14D

  • Temporary messages do not vanish forever.
  • Are anonymous applications really anonymous?
  • How temporary is “temporary”?

Kik Messenger

  • Users can stay anonymous and conduct all sorts of communication.
  • Has perks, like seeing if someone read your message.
  • Has drawbacks, such as accidentally sending content to more people than the user intended.
  • Easy to end up communicating with anonymous strangers.
  • Involves ads disguised as communication.

Ask.fm

  • Kids anonymously ask questions, e.g., “How do I conceal my eating disorder from my parents?” This question is benign compared to others on the site, though many users are innocent teens just hanging out.
  • This kind of site, though, promotes cyberbullying.

Whisper

  • Intended for adults, this app is where you post what’s eating you.
  • Some posts are uplifting and inspirational, while others are examples of human depravity.
  • Replete with references to drugs, liquor and lewd behavior—mixed in with the innocent, often humorous content.

Yik Yak

  • For users wanting to exchange texts and images to nearby users—hence having a unique appeal to teens.
  • And it’s anonymous. Users have made anonymous threats of violence via Yik Yak.
  • Due to the bond of communicating with local users and the anonymity, this medium is steeped in nasty communication.
  • Threats of violence will grab the attention of law enforcement who can turn “anonymous” into “identified.”

Omegle

  • This anonymous chat forum is full of really bad language, sexual content, violence, etc.
  • The app’s objective is to pair teens up with strangers (creepy!).
  • Yes, assume that many users are adult men—and you know why.
  • Primarily for sexual chat and not for teens, but teens use it.

Line

  • Texting, sending videos, games, group chats and lots of other teeny features like thousands of emoticons.
  • The Hidden Chat feature allows users to set a self-destruct time of two seconds to a week for their messages.
  • For the most part it’s an innocent teen hub, but can snare teens into paying for some of the features.

Burn Note

  • Text messages are deleted after a set time period.
  • Texts appear one word at a time.
  • Burn Note can promote cyberbullying—for obvious reasons.

Snapchat

  • Users put a time limit on imagery content before it’s erased. So you can imagine what some of the imagery might be.
  • And images aren’t truly deleted, e.g., Snapsaved (unrelated to Snapchat) can dig up any Snapchatted image, or, the recipient can screenshot that nude image of your teen daughter—immortalizing it.

REPEAT: Face it, parents: times have changed. It’s your duty to discuss these applications with your kids. And parents should also familiarize themselves with the so-called temporary apps.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

Stop being a blabber on Social Media

Are you a cyber-blabber? Even a post about your daily afternoon foray to the sub sandwich shop could get you in trouble: A burglar reading this knows when to rob your house. But it doesn’t end there. STOP THE MADNESS!

14DThe Giants: Facebook and Twitter

  • Be careful what you post on Facebook and tweet about. It can be used against you in court, even something as innocuous as: “I’m training for my very first 10K.” Not good if you’re suing someone who hit your car for back pain and suffering.
  • Lawyers will take the time to scroll the Facebook timeline and your tweet history for evidence that can kill your case.

Reputation and Safety

  • Seemingly harmless posts and tweets can indicate to burglars when it’s a good time to break into your house.
  • Worse, posts and tweets can indicate to pedophiles when and where to lure your child into their car.
  • Less malevolent, but potentially annoying though, are the data mining companies that piece together your tidbits to then design an ad campaign targeted towards you.
  • Are your posts replete with language? This won’t look good to a potential employer. Nor will endless posts about how fatigued you always are.
  • That image of your young child’s specially hand-crafted spanking paddle won’t go over well with the mother you were recently interviewed by for a nanny position.

I think you are starting to get it.

Obsessions

  • Facebook and Twitter can certainly amplify a pre-existing whacked sense of priorities. An example is that of obsessively checking your friend’s page to see what new thing she’s bragging about, then getting worked up with anger that you can’t match this, such as a new sports car.

Solutions

  • Set a timer out for, say, 30 minutes a day, and that’s your limit on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Avoid social media for one week to kill your hunger for obsessing over a family member’s bigger house, fancier car and more prestigious job.
  • Set your privacy settings on high.

Stop making inane posts about everything that happens to you. Nobody will go to bed in distress just because they didn’t read that you had an upset stomach after eating too much at BurgerVille.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.

Stay Safe While Traveling this Summer

So, when you think about summer travel safety, what comes to mind? Which beach you’ll be lounging on? Sunburns? Shark attacks? While sunburns and vacation plans are rational concerns most have when traveling during the summer, shark attacks are a new one.

4WWith all of the news of recent shark attacks, people are now anxious about wading into the waters, despite the fact that the chances of getting mauled by a shark are a whopping one in 3.7 million. No guarantees, of course, but your odds are looking pretty good.

Conversely, the odds of getting your identity stolen or your other valuable information compromised while on or planning for these fun summer trips with the family are much higher. So instead of worrying about sharks this summer, let’s worry about the real predators out there —online hackers and phishing scammers.

In order to ensure you and your family’s online safety while on vacation, you first have to find an ideal and preferably well-rated vacation spot to travel. The Web is replete with scam sites touting glorious vacation spots for bargain prices. Be wary because a lot of these locations are fictitious or are actual pictures of someone’s home “stolen” from, for instance, someone’s family blog or social media profile. The thief will then put up a fraudulent ad for renters and will request a wired upfront payment.

Book travel plans only via legitimate, reputable sites. McAfee® WebAdvisor is a tool you can use that will help to warn you of most unsafe web pages. Make sure to check reviews of any private lodgings and use legitimate, well-known travel review sites.

We all love to share what we’re doing on social media, especially kids, but avoid using location services when possible. According to the recent Intel Security study : Realities of Cyber Parenting , one in three children who are active on social media turn on location services for some or all of their social media accounts which can alert thieves that you are not home, making you vulnerable to break-ins.

Many users are unaware of these features, but the service is available, and probably enabled on almost all of your most used apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. In order to fully protect your online data, when your computer devices are not in use, the Wi-Fi, location services and Bluetooth all should be turned off. Educate your kids to disable these services and not to download apps that request this information to run.

Additional Safety Measures You Can Take:

  • Lock your luggage
  • Do not post your travel plans online
  • If you’re taking any computer devices along, back up all their data first
  • Power down, password-protect, and lock these devices prior to travel
  • The person next to you on the plane can visually eavesdrop while you type in login information—beware. Better yet, avoid computer use while on the plane, and watch movies instead
  • Never use public Wi-Fi, at least for important transactions including purchases. Not only can thieves snatch data out of the air, but cybercriminals can also install public computers with data-stealing gadgets. If you must use public Wi-Fi for sensitive communications, use a virtual private network (VPN), which will scramble your data

Even after taking all of these precautions before and during your trip, your job is not done! Once you return home from your trip, it is vital that you make sure all of your information and charges are accurate. Make sure to immediately check your online credit card statements for unauthorized charges—before you invest time posting all about your trip on social media. Credit card fraud or identity theft can occur in well under 24 hours, so don’t put off checking your card status when you come home.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Safety Expert to Intel Security. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!

Social Media Scams on the rise

Social media is a conduit for thieves to get personal data (they can use it, for instance, to open up a credit line in the victim’s name). Though many people are concerned their personal information will get in the wrong hands, the funny thing is that they continue posting personal information—way too personal.

14DThe FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center says that social media is a fertile area for criminals to scam people.

Phishing

You are lured to a phony website that masquerades as your bank or some other important account. The lure might be a warning that you’ll lose your account unless you click the link to reactivate it. Once on the site, you’re then lured into typing in your login information—that the scammer will then use to gain access to your account.

  • Never click these links!
  • Use antivirus/malware protection!

Clickjacking

You’re lured into clicking on a link. Once you do this, trouble begins, either with a download of malware or you being suckered into revealing account information—to the thief on the other end.

Recently I was perusing the FB page of a person I knew from school, and a recent post was what appeared to be a video in still format, ready to be clicked for viewing.

And what was the lure? A man’s head and torso on a road, his severed legs nearby, with the caption saying that this motorcyclist’s cam had recorded his fatal accident. This was surely a scam because the photo has been around for quite some time with only scant information. Now suddenly there’s a video of the accident? Yeah, right.

  • Don’t click on any videos purporting to show something like “Footage Shows Shark Biting Man in Half” or “Top 20 Blondes of All Time—Naked!”
  • Even the “Share” and “Like” buttons could be malicious. Skip these. These days you can’t be too careful, what with all the foaming cyber criminals out there.

Doxing

Doxing is that of leaking someone’s personal identifying data into cyberspace without their permission, potentially leading to ID theft, among other problems.

  • Think twice before you post personal details on social media. Enough seemingly trivial details could add up to something significant to a savvy fraudster.

Make sure your privacy settings are at their highest, but this is only an adjunct to being very judicious about what you post.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention. Disclosures.

Question: Should You worry about Kids on Social Media?

With all the increased news coverage of kids running off with adults they met online, and kids dying by suicide supposedly due to online bullying, many parents are wondering if their worries about their kids being online are justified.

14DWe hardly hear about how social media has benefited kids. There’s nothing inherent about electronic communications or electronic media that makes it bad for kids. There will always be bad people out there—online and offline.

An article on commonsensemedia.org lists multiple ways good things can come to kids who use social media.

  • Makes friendships stronger. The site did a study called Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives. More than half the participants said that social media has benefited their friendships. Only four percent said it hurt them. And 29 percent reported social media made them feel more extroverted, while just five percent said it made them feel more introverted.
  • Creates a sense of belonging. The article points out a study from Griffith University and the University of Queensland in Australia that concluded that teens today are less lonely than they were in past decades. The ease of being connected makes kids less isolated.
  • Online community support. Online communities exist for just about everything, so that even the most geekiest, nerdiest outcast can find a group who accepts him or her. This includes support groups for kids whose parents are divorced and kids who are cutters.
  • Expressing themselves. And this doesn’t just mean venting, but social media allows kids to put up their creative work and learn how to become more skilled.

Being helpful. Instead of thinking that social media is bad for kids, consider that kids can be good for social media. Think of how many opportunities exist for kids to do something good, to help a person out—by posting uplifting messages and artwork, to name a few ways.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing identity theft prevention.

6 Tips for Protecting Your Social Media Accounts

10 years ago, many of us were hearing about social media for the first time. Now, social media plays a giant role in our lives, allowing us to share pictures, connect with family and friends, and get updated news. Through social media, we can express ourselves to our inner circle and the world.

14DSo how devastating would it be if someone got a hold of your social media accounts?

They could really wreak some havoc, like sending dirty links to all of your followers on Twitter. Or worse, take personal information in order to steal your identity, which could take years to fix. Sadly, breaking into your social media account can be easy—just one wrong click on a phishing scam or using a weak password that is easy to guess

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to protect your social media accounts from hackers. Here are my tips:

  1. Discard unused applications. Take inventory of your social media accounts to see if there are any third-party applications that have access to your personal social data. Delete the ones you don’t use or don’t need. And make sure you are ok with what information they are accessing from your social profile/account as these can be gateways to your account for hackers.
  2. Be careful who you friend online. Only accept friend requests from people you know in real life. Often hackers will send requests so they can see the information you are sharing to help them take advantage of
  3. Sharing is not always caring. Double check your privacy settings to control who sees your posts. Also, be careful what you share online—think of what you post online as being there forever, even if you have privacy setting enabled. For example, sharing that you’re away on vacation could inform a thief that you’re not home and indicate to them it’s a good time to rob you.
  4. Use strong passwords. Using “password” as a password isn’t going to cut it. The strongest passwords are at least eight characters in length, preferably 12; contain a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers, and are unique to each account. For more information on how to create strong passwords, go to passwordday.org. And don’t forget to join us to celebrate World Password Day on May 7th. If you have trouble remembering and keeping track of all your user names and passwords, a safe option is to use a password manager. I like, which allows you to log into sites and apps using multiple factors that are unique to you, like your face and fingerprints and the devices you own.
  5. Multi-factor authentication. Imagine a hacker has your password, username and email and even knows the answer to your secret question. He can get into your account. But if you’ve enabled multi-factor authentication, the hacker will need another factor to truly access your account. So without your phone, fingerprint, face or whatever factor you’ve set up, the game’s over for him. With True Key, you have to keep you safe online.
  6. Use security software. Of course, keep all your devices updated with comprehensive security software like McAfee LiveSafe™ service.

Don’t let hackers hack into your digital life! For other tips, check out @IntelSec_Home on Twitter or like them on Facebook!

Robert Siciliano is an Online Safety Expert to Intel Security. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.