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Social Media: Staying safe at home or abroad

by Brian Cody

Social media use has become synonymous with travel—people are constantly posting holiday snaps on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and a multitude of other social platforms. As fun as it may be to let the world know the exciting experiences you’re having, it’s still important to consider the safety aspect of using social media no matter if you are home or abroad. Here’s our essential tips for safe social media use: 

Know Your Friends

Before posting where you are, and how long you’ll be there, consider the people on your friend list. Do you know them all personally? Even if you do (and you probably don’t), it’s a good idea to use caution when you receive requests from strangers. Befriending those you don’t know makes it easier for such people to find out about you and potentially gain access to sensitive information.

So while you may want to befriend the guy you met at a crazy bar in Barcelona after sharing beers all night, remember to use caution. There’s nothing wrong with waiting to add someone to your social media circle.

Stay informed of Privacy Settings

Checking your social media privacy settings about once a month is recommended, however it’s especially important before embarking on a trip. Never assume default settings will keep you safe, and take pains to ensure the privacy settings you do use are very, very strict.

The stricter, the better—this includes limiting access to location, workplace, birthday, and any other private information.  

Avoid Geo-Location Services

It might be tempting to name your specific location when out and about, but it’s generally not the best idea. After all, stating your location amounts to letting your friends or followers know you aren’t at home, something everyone from cyber stalkers to thieves will be more than happy to learn. So skip the geo-location services, the apps and any other social media service that lets the world know where you are. You know where you are, and that’s enough.

If you must post your exciting photos (and really, who doesn’t want to), try waiting until you’re home. And again, avoid using specific location services—stay vague and stay safe.

Use Strong Passwords

It can happen to the best of us: you’re in an unfamiliar place, and subsequently a bit distracted, and you leave your mobile device somewhere. If your device doesn’t feature a lock and passcode, you’re setting yourself up for a serious information breach. For best results, ensure your phone features a unique passcode so anyone who comes across your phone can’t use it.

Additionally, you should remember to review security settings before you leave for your trip. Turn off location services as well, and make certain your social media and email passwords are strong. If the password to access all of your social media profiles is your cat’s name, it won’t be hard for hackers to do their thing on your device.  

Wrapping Up

Social media and high-quality smartphone cameras make it easy to share beautiful images the world—but you’ll pay a price. Review security settings, use highly unique passwords, avoid announcing your location and friending every single person you meet en route, and otherwise use common sense. Social media has made life a lot less private, so the more you know about protecting your information, the better.

Snap pictures now, and save them until after you come back!  

How do you protect yourself from security threats on social media? 

This entry was posted on Thu Mar 23, 2017 filed under online safety , online safety tips and online security tips

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