Not just Facebook, but social media is too big to ignore at this stage. Social media has also majorly been a force for good, but there is a dark side: cyberbullying and threats from mostly anonymous trolls hiding behind their computer screens.
In fact, it seems nobody is immune. Just recently, two-time Grammy Award winner Ed Sheeran was forced to quit Twitter due to threats, attacks and hate from trolls. Major celebrities including Adele, Stephen Fry and Zayn Malik have also had to take Twitter breaks due to threats on social media.
When it comes to social media, some facts should be known:
- More than 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised every day.
- 22 percent of social media users have fallen victim to security-related threats.
- Victims of cyberbullying, which occurs mostly on social media, are twice as likely to commit suicide than non-victims.
Even in the real world, you can’t stop threats completely. Social media is much more difficult to police, and it is getting bigger by the day.
Here are four ways you are unknowingly exposing yourself to threats on social media, though:
Flaunting your wealth and luxuries
We all want to be the life of the party, but sometimes it is worth asking if it is worth the risk. A common trend now, especially among youths, is to flaunt their wealth and luxuries on social media. This can have serious consequences.
A notable example of someone who had to realize the consequences of flaunting wealth on social media the hard way is Kim Kardashian, who was robbed at gunpoint in Paris in October 2016. The robbers targeted Kardashian, and they went away with more than £9 million ($11.9 million) worth of jewelry. One of the items stolen was a £3.5 million ($4.63 million) ring that her husband recently gave her. Not surprisingly, though, Kardashian had flaunted the ring on Instagram prior to the attack.
When you flaunt fast cars, expensive diamonds and stacks of cash, don’t be surprised when thieves and robbers decide they want a taste of your wealth.
Carelessly using location services
While one of the selling points of using location tracking in social media or services is the fact that they make things more accessible to you, very few people consider the risks. Ignoring the fact that some unscrupulous service providers can sell the data, it is worth noting that having social media sites publicly display your location can threaten your security.
Depending on the aim of the person making the threat, location information can be used to track where you are, to stalk and monitor you, to find out political or religious information about you or to steal your identity.
Obviously, security agencies have been taking steps to ensure that users’ privacy is protected when they use services that log and display their location, but you can take additional steps for your security. This could mean disabling any form of location logging if you don’t really need it, or selectively using virtual private networks to mask your real location when you don’t want your location revealed.
Your usage of social media apps
Another very common way people unknowingly jeopardize their security on social media is by not paying attention to social media applications they use. When you allow any and every app to have unnecessary access to your information, you are potentially jeopardizing your security.
There is no reason why a gaming app should be able to access your name, email address and mobile number and be able to message your friends.
If you want to install an app and you realize that it is asking for way more access than is necessary for it to function, be wary. Also avoid installing apps from sources not verified or from sources not directly from the social media site you want to use the app on.
Revealing too much information
If you are not familiar with the term “social engineering,” it is worth doing some reading up on it. It basically involves people trying to manipulate you to reveal confidential information. They then use this information to access services and systems you would never have authorized them to access.
Social media makes it much easier to fall victim to social engineering attacks. This is because many social media users reveal so much information that the puzzle is almost connected before a hacker gets to work.
Research shows that as many as 75 percent of people expose their personal email addresses on social media, while 33 percent expose their personal mobile numbers. When you have your personal email address, your personal cell phone number, lots of personal photos and your friends list publicly viewable on social media, it becomes extremely easy to piece up information and gather data about you on social media.