Social media and social networking is just another part of our lives really. Sociology observes that people tend to form groups wherever they may go and whatever age they live in. The only difference in our age from the past is that technology has made it possible for us to create virtual groups as well; which we have done successfully over the past few years. It’s just not possible for any of us to opt out of group mechanics as they are an inherent part of our nature. This is why no matter who you may be, you undoubtedly have an account on a social networking site.

But asides from the fixes we get off Facebooking, YouTubing, Twittering, and so on, there are some major pitfalls to look out for. Hackers usually flock to these sites to get access to your personal data so they can later use what they find to break into your email and online bank accounts. If that’s not the case, then they attempt to introduce apps so that your phone becomes infected with a cell phone monitoring app and your PC with computer spy software. And of course, since your social media account is closely linked to your identity, you should take extra caution not to have it compromised. Here are some tips and tricks to stay safe:

1.       Do not share the entirety of your private life. Some people may find this an annoying tip since the whole point of social media is to ‘share’, or so they think. But the concept of sharing which applies on the World Wide Web is one of ‘selective sharing’. If you publish your address, your phone number, and even things like your birth year, you are openly sending out an invitation to malicious individuals to target you, no matter what the forum.

2.       Use anti-spy and anti-malware software both on your PC and your cell phone. The threat of hacking is more serious then you may think. Simply considering yourself as an individual no one would gain anything by hacking is a major misconception. Hackers now work for giant ad corporations in order to make money and sell out your credentials so you could get spammed and or tracked by them. And guess what, social media sites and users are their favorite places to start.

3.       Always keep the software (especially the security software) and social apps that you have on your phone and PC updated. Also keep your browser updated and regularly recheck and refresh your security settings.  Continuing to use outdated software is a potential risk. Hackers always target such apps since by the time of an update release, they have figured out potential flaws to exploit your social networking credentials if nothing else.

4.       Avoid installing third party apps. Many social networking sites feature apps from third parties and allow you to install or download them. But what one should remember is that these apps have not been reviewed or been subjected to rigorous control methods. So this means that they may have full access to your data and account. So make sure you do not go for such apps. Also, do not keep apps you don’t use around. Get rid of them to stay in the clear.

5.       And lastly, always logout once you are done using the social networking site. This simple tip is one that can save you from many annoying and embarrassing situations but most importantly it can save you from losing data due to a loaded session (when you do not logout and simply close the browser).

Author Bio: James Clark has been dabbling in tech news, reviews and more for the past couple of years. His work in computer spy software and cell phone spy software has of late made up most of his focal points and his writing.

Tips and Tricks for Staying Safe on Social Media