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Keep your personal information safe on Social Media

How to keep your personal information safe on Social Media header - man's hand holding cell phone

Top 5 Tips to Securely Use Social Media

Social media sites, such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, are amazing resources, allowing you to meet, interact, and share with people around the world. However, with all this power comes risks--not just for you, but your family, friends, and employer. In this newsletter, we cover the key steps to making the most of social media securely and safely.

1. Be careful of what you post publicly

Be careful and think before posting. Anything you post will most likely become public at some point, impacting your reputation and future, including where you can go to school or the jobs you can get. If you don’t want your family or boss to see it, you probably shouldn’t post it. Also, be aware of what others are posting about you. You may have to ask others to remove what they share about you.

2. Enable privacy options

Almost all social media sites have strong privacy options. Enable them when possible. For example, does the site really need to be able to track your location? In addition, privacy options can be confusing and change often. Make it a habit to check and confirm they are working as you expect them to.

3. Learn how to spot scams

Just like in email, bad guys will attempt to trick or fool you using social media messages. For example, they may try to trick you out of your password or credit card. Be careful what you click on: if a friend sends you what appears to be an odd message or one that does not sound like them, it could be a cyber attacker pretending to be your friend.

4. Read the Terms of Services

Know the site’s terms of service. Anything you post or upload might become the property of the site.

5. Understand company policies where you work

If you want to post anything about work, check with your supervisor first to make sure it is okay to publicly share.

Follow these tips to enjoy a much safer online experience. To learn more on how to use social media sites safely, or report unauthorized activity, check your social media site’s security page.


Jessica Barker is a world leader in the human side of cyber security. She is the co-founder of Redacted Firm, where she delivers consultancy services to clients across the globe, and is also a well-known speaker.

© SANS Institute 2018