staying secure onlineThese days people are sharing more and more of their personal information online. This is good for socializing, but bad for staying secure online. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and a variety of other social media websites, it is now easier than ever to invite friends to social events, post photos, share vacation plans and keep your social circle informed than ever before.

However, with this freedom comes new security risks as well. When sharing information online it’s important to remember that anything you share online could be easily distributed to the general public. You always need to be thinking of staying secure online and acting with this in mind.

Staying Secure Online: Tips

The first thing you should always do before sharing personal information online is consider who could possibly see your posting. Social media messages are easily shared and forwarded to others, so do not post anything that you do not want others to see.

It is also incredibly important to keep a diligent eye on your privacy settings. These are a crucial part of staying secure online. You will want to make sure that the general settings as well as the settings for particular posts or events are set to your specifications. Failure to do so can have very serious consequences.

For example, a teenage girl in the United Kingdom recently created a Facebook invitation for her birthday party. She meant to invite 15 friends, but accidentally marked the event as “public” rather than private. This meant that anyone could see the invite. More than 21,000 people replied and anyone who visited the public invitation was able to see the girl’s picture, address and phone number.

Obviously this was a huge security risk to the girl and her family. Always be aware of who can see the information that you post online and remember that things you mean to keep private may not be. This is important to remember when staying secure online.

The same is true for posting about your location. A post on Facebook or Twitter that you are going to be on vacation for a month could be seen by someone who wants to break into your home.

Police in British Columbia and Ontario recently warned people to avoid mentioning vacation plans on Twitter and other social media website for this exact reason. It is important for staying secure online.

Podcast link: