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How to Protect your profile on social networking sites
Published  06/19/2011 | Security | Rating:
How to Protect your profile on social networking sites

Interest groups, blogs, chatting, hobbies, friends, business networking – these sites mimic all the aspects of real life socialising but online. Just like real life, however, you’re open to attacks and theft of information online. When setting up a profile on a social networking site like Facebook or Myspace, it’s essential to determine what info you wish to post.

Your name, age, gender, zip code and email address are usually required to create an account. The info that should never be shared on your profile include: Address, phone number, social security number and credit card number. It’s not just about the info you share but who you want to share it with. When you first join a social networking site, the default setting is to allow anyone to see your profile and updates. Sites such as Facebook go even further: Your activities will not only be shared with various friends and groups, but also across every single network you’ve ever traversed. You can disable these settings in the account settings and unchecking “Allow anyone to see my public search listing” along with restricting your email IDs, IM names and other details to people on your friends list.

It’s vital to understand the privacy policy of some of these social networking sites. Is the policy easy to read and understand? Will they share or sell your information? How recently was it updated? Sites like LinkedIn state plainly that will never sell your info. Facebook and Myspace do not state they won’t sell your info so it’s safe to assume they’re reserving the right to do so.

By default, everyone can find your profile listing in a public search. This includes Facebook and Myspace, along with the potential to find people across MSN, Google and Yahoo. Make sure you go through the Privacy Settings of your account to ascertain which information you’d like to display publicly. Alternatively, you can set your profile to “No Networks” in Facebook which will disable most sharing settings. Selecting the “My Friends Only” box in Myspace will lock out strangers from viewing your profile. A trick used to gain information involves some one creating a new account with your friend’s name and a few general details. Then they send a friend request to you, stating they’ve created a new account (for some reason or another). In this case, confirm with your friend personally or over his old account whether the
new account is real or not.

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