Life-Hack: How To Stay Safe on Social

By Carrie Tylawsky Over the past several months, there have been numerous warnings about hackers across all kinds of website. This morning, eBay customers were encouraged to change their passwords after a huge hack was made public --one that took place two months ago and now has provided hackers with the personal information of eBay customers. This is not the first time that something of this magnitude has occurred, and it certainly won't be the last. Social media sites often get even more attention when it comes to the privacy of personal information -- social tends to be more than an address and a date of birth, but truly a snapshot into a person's entire life. So, what steps can you take to reduce the chances of your personal information being violated?

  1. Passwords. Are. Everything. I know this gets ironed into our minds over and over again, but if you ask the people around you: "How many different passwords do you use?" they'll probably tell you they have one or two that they use for everything. Meaning, they use it for their Facebook, Twitter, online banking, PayPal -- and they have likely shared it with someone in the past. Good rule of thumb: If you want to have a password that you use for everything, implement a formula so that it's slightly changed for each network. For example, always change the first letter to be the capital letter of the site you're using. It's simple and effective and will (hopefully) prevent you from actually writing down the passwords of all your different sites so that you don't forget.
  2. Check in to places that are different for you to go to, not the places you go everyday. Humans are creatures of habit, and it's easy to notice patterns. Social media is all about sharing your life with your friends and family-- and they already know where you live and work. If you keep sharing it on social, that information will extend beyond the people that you want and into the laptops of strangers.
  3. Keep numbers private. That includes your address, your P.O. Box, your phone number, your social security number -- anything with a numerical value associated with it tends to be unique and therefore incredibly easy to search. Have you ever gotten a random number call your cell and then immediately Google it to see who was trying to get in touch? The access to information available online is vast, and the key to most of it is in something like a phone number which is yours alone. If it's a number that is associated with your name, don't make it public.

What would you add to the list? Share in the comments below!