What are social networks usually used for? For the most part, people use them to stay in touch with friends, watch funny videos or catch with the latest news. It may seem that Facebook and other social networks appear to be safe and cozy virtual worlds where we can see and be seen at the same time. Perhaps the best thing about it is that we can access them literally everywhere, even from our warm and cozy beds.
People have become accustomed to sharing a lot about their lives. Many post things ranging from their trips abroad to expensive gifts on Facebook or Instagram. For some, posting selfies and checking in everywhere they go has become utterly essential as it allows them to grow their follower or subscriber base and generate a wow-effect. Outside of the regular Joe users who follow people, social networks are a boon to spies, jealous or crazy exes and cybercriminals.
While we may have learned that we should not talk to strangers at an early age, many people forget about it when it comes to Facebook, Instagram and other social networks. According to recent research from Kaspersky Lab, 28% social network users neglect privacy settings and leave ALL of their posts and photos public.
— Kaspersky Lab (@kaspersky) July 13, 2015
Many people are also careless towards virtual “friends.” One in ten surveyed eagerly confirms each friend request they receive — even from complete strangers. Every third is ready to befriend unknown people if they have at least a few mutual friends. But, hey, who told you that your friends really know this person? They could have just added them because this stranger asked.
These “friendly strangers” can easily turn to be sellers, promoting unnecessary goods from an online store that they are an affiliate for, most notably in the weight loss or physical training space, or just a bot for some illicit late night webcam “chats.” At best they will just spam you, but in the worst-case scenario, they can turn out to be real cybercriminals.
We believe that’s reason enough not to rely on that false safe feeling, which arises when we are sitting at home behind several doors and exploring the Internet. The virtual world is far from your home and our data is kept on some virtual international ground. If the data’s not protected, anybody can come and take it. And they frequently do.
— Kaspersky Lab (@kaspersky) October 23, 2015
That’s why you should be extremely careful about which types of personal data you publish online or share with software developers, Internet shops and other third-party organizations.
If you still have your social networks unprotected, you’d better solve this problem right now. To do that:
- Set proper privacy settings. Click on the hyperlinked text for a “how to” on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and even com;
- Reject all pending friend requests from strangers;
- Install a comprehensive security solution, which will protect you from phishing, prevent you from downloading malware and stop you before you share your personal data with an unnecessarily impudent web-service. For example, Kaspersky Internet Security can do all of these and even more with ease.
— Kaspersky Lab (@kaspersky) December 22, 2015
And remember: links, sent by strangers, can redirect you to malicious websites, so don’t follow them.