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Some Security Tips When Using Social Media Networks

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has a few security tips to follow when you’re using social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace.

More than half of all Americans have accounts on one or more social networks including Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. While social media is a great way to communicate and share information with friends and family, there are real dangers from hackers and cyber criminals. A stranger online should be treated in the same way as a stranger in real life. Unfamiliar “friends” or connections on social networks are not likely your true friends. Worse, they could be ill-intentioned people who use social networking sites to target or collect personal information.

Whether on social networks or web-connected video games, follow these simple security tips from the US-CERT:

  • Limit the amount of personal information you post: Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your address or information about your schedule or routine. If your trusted friends post information about you, make sure the information is not more than you would be comfortable sharing with strangers.
  • Be wary of strangers: The internet makes it easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal.
  • Be skeptical: Don’t believe everything you read online. People may post false or misleading information about various topics, including their own identities.
  • Evaluate your settings: Take advantage of a site’s security and privacy settings and review them regularly to make sure that your choices are still appropriate.

For additional information on how to protect yourself and help keep the Web a safer place for everyone, visit the DHS Stop.Think.Connect Campaign website (http://www.dhs.gov/files/events/stop-think-connect.shtm).

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