Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, all of these Social Networks have something in common: Popularity. Being Popular is not the same as “Safe”, it does requires a good level of responsibility and also some common sense to prevent sensitive data leak that may damage our reputation or use our account as part of greater scam schemes. I have used all these networks for quite long and personally I’m not a “social” guy, keeping small groups of friends, low likes counts, etc., but when I started the blog, I did investigate how other people go nuts with these social tools and how weak was their perception of how to use it correctly, so I did a small set of good practices to help them with their social persona online.

Say something worthwhile and people will listen – Germany Kent

1. Check the permissions before allowing an app:

One of the most critical scenarios in social networks, do you know why? THEY ARE GOING AFTER YOUR DATA, quite shocking isn’t it? For some companies all the information that you have is gold and they want to use it for some long term plans like Data mining/analysis or propagating invites around yours contacts. Some apps may look harmless but there are some risks associated with this and there are at the permissions. For example, by allowing a certain app you may provide clearance to:

  1. Your personal info
  2. Your contact list
  3. Actions within your social app, like posting or inviting users on your behalf.

For reasons like these, users started to see spam invites for games so often that are now considered to pesky and end up with the termination of the relationship with user that allowed that app.

Please, check the permissions when allowing a new app on your social network

Facebook IOS Allow App screen

Facebook IOS – When you allow an app to get your data

Twitter App Integration

Twitter App Integration with third parties

2. Make sure your social network session is closed when using public computers.

A common problem, usually present when using cybercafes. After finishing any session on a public computer I recommend to try these tips:

  1. Double check that your social network is completely closed. Make sure you did hit the Logout button.
  2. Check if your password is stored on the browser. When in doubt, go and change your password in a safe place like your home.

 

3. Once in a while, remove apps that you don’t use anymore.

We are in a digital era right now, new and better apps are available every day, so you may end up with dozens of apps harvesting your data and only one is being used by you in a daily basis, in that moment you have to take some minutes and review your third-party app list, you will be surprised of how many app you have collected all these years, consider all the data that they were able to retrieve from you.

Example of how to revoke access on Third-party apps on twitter

Example of how to revoke access on Third-party apps on twitter

4. Use of HTTPS is not optional, now it’s a must.

Sounds too technical but you have to pay attention to the Padlock symbol when accessing your social network, when present, it means that the communication between you and the social network is secure (encrypted to be precise). Currently Facebook, Twitter and other are forcefully implementing this level of security on their sites and this will serve you as a preventive indicator, if you don’t see the padlock before entering your account credentials, run away from that site, it’s probably a trap to get your account password.

Example of https padlocks on common social networks

Example of https padlocks on common social networks

These are my recommendations when using social networks, if you have any others, please fell free to comment.

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Carlos Alberto Umanzor Arguedas

Web Developer at carlosumanzor.com
Web Developer, QA Engineer and Gamer Enthusiast, Developer of Linkcrawler and Father of a future computer ninja.
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