Social Networking sites and application are an increasingly entwined part of our everyday lives. We use them to communicate with friends and family all over the globe, to chat with friends down the hall to decide where to eat, to network for jobs, and to connect with others with similar interests.
However, much like any other part of the internet, social networks can be frought with serious security risks, both for your person, and your data.
Many social networks will tell you that the more you put into them (your information), the more you get out of them (connections, recommendations, etc.). However, despite the aura of privacy they try to engender, one must keep in mind that social network takes place in essentially public space, with only the barest of mechanisms providing any semblance of privacy. Even seemingly innocuous data shared with the world can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
The best attitude to take in order to enjoy the benefits of social networking, while minimizing the inherent risks, is to remain SKEPTICAL and CAUTIOUS.
SKEPTICAL of any requests for information.
CAUTIOUS of any information you put on there.
These Do's And Don'ts Can Serve As Good Guidelines To Follow In Your Social Networking Interactions.
Use a strong password.
Use privacy settings. Insist your friends use theirs too.
NEVER leave anything but the bare minimum as publically available. Make sure only your accepted friends or followers can see what you put up.
Use HTTPS to connect to your social networking sites whenever possible, especially when connecting from a public hotspot. Be wary if your social networking service only uses HTTP for login credentials only.
Whenever possible, organize contacts into "categories".
Most of us do this between friends and family anyway, but from a security standpoint it might also make sense to separate "best friends" from "person I met yesterday afternoon"
Verify friend/follower requests.
Don't accept just anyone. Most scams start by someone bluffing their way...