This post is brought to you by Digital Citizenship Conference sponsor, the University of Phoenix. We sat down with Kirsten E. Hoyt, Ed.D. who is an Academic Dean at the University of Phoenix, to talk about topics we discussed at the Digital Citizenship Conference. The conference was a rich environment for parents and educators to openly discuss tactics for keeping kids safe online and on social media. All of the conference sessions are available with the Virtual Replay Ticket.
In recent years, social media has become one of the most convenient and popular ways for individuals to keep up with friends, family, and coworkers. But, what many of us overlook, is that the content we post on social media sites can be used to by hackers to breach passwords and gain access to our identity and personal information. In fact, a recent University of Phoenix survey on social media cybersecurity found that 47 percent of U.S. adults have had their social media accounts hacked. Are you practicing safe habits online? Below are the social media activities that can put you at risk of a data breach.
- You give out too much information online
- You connect to public Wi-Fi networks
- Someone asks you for your personal information and you give it to them
Don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the news.
Think about all the information you post on social media sites. Did you wear a local school’s t-shirt? Have you answered any surveys from friends? How many external links have you clicked on and allowed access to your personal account information? Do you post when you travel? All of these actions pose potential risks and give hackers information that could clue them into your location, personal information and, potentially, your password. I recommend you proceed with caution when posting anything online. Avoid the quizzes and tests that appear in social media circles, and change your password often (remember to make it long and complex). For an easy rule to follow: Don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the news.
When you are on a public Wi-Fi network anyone can “listen” to all the keystrokes you perform.
In the survey done by University of Phoenix, 52 percent of the people surveyed felt that the convenience of public Wi-Fi outweighed the risks of cyber security threats. The survey also found that roughly 70 percent of those public Wi-Fi users have connected in hotels, restaurants, airports or stores – places that can give hackers easy access to your data. When you are on a public Wi-Fi network anyone can “listen” to the activity and record all the keystrokes you perform. Think about the things you do on your computer when on public Wi-Fi networks. Do you login to your bank account or into your personal email? Instead of using the public network, use your cell phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot or download a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Do not click on any hyperlinks in suspicious emails.
The easiest way for hackers to get your information is they ask you for it through phishing emails. The “ask email” is typically part of a phishing scheme, where you receive an email and are requested to validate your user account. When you click the link to validate your information, you are taken to a fake site and unknowingly you enter your information. From that point, the hackers have your account information and can start using it fraudulently. Do not click on any hyperlinks in suspicious emails; instead, call the company directly to verify your information.
I hope these recommendations and tips help keep you safe online!