Using social networks safely

Everyone uses social networks like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Although these fantastic sites do have their upside, they also open users up to more computer viruses and online threats that may go beyond the power of their current internet security software or PC protection plan.

Just a few of the threats social network users face include:

Bogus e-mails from “friends”: Hackers lure users into taking actions they shouldn’t by making it appear as if a friend within their social network has sent them an in-network e-mail – only the e-mail is from a hacker who’s hijacked the friend’s account.

Malicious links or bait: This type of scam involves personal messages to users that encourage them to click on a link. Doing so can do a number of things including sending users to a fake website, where they’re prompted to download and install an executable file that turns out to be a virus that infects the user’s PC.

Identity theft: Social network users who share personal information with their entire network of friends such as birth dates, addresses, pets’ names and other details leave themselves vulnerable to hackers who may guess their passwords and access their profiles based on the personal information they shared.

To help increase your PC protection, Webroot advises users to install updatable Internet security software and keep a few simple rules in mind, such as:

Be skeptical – E-mails, friend requests, Web site links and other items from sources you do not know could be laced with malware.

Use privacy settings – Social Networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, offer privacy settings that let you control who sees your posts and personal information. Use them to control who access to your page, contact information, etc.

Protect your password – Choose your passwords wisely, incorporate numbers, letters and special characters, and never use the same password at more than one site.

For those who may need new internet security software, you should select a program that offers a multi-level security solution and has the ability to:

  • Block viruses, spyware, spam, Trojans, worms, rootkits and keyloggers
  • Make your PC invisible to hackers
  • Encrypt passwords and remember them for you
  • Allow you to access and share your photos, music and files from anywhere
  • Offer multi-layer identity protection
  • Provide safety across multiple devices
  • Provide firewall security.