Tips to keep Sun Devils safe on social media

September 30th, 2022

Social media ties us together, offering glimpses into the lives of loved ones and strangers alike. While this interconnectedness can be useful, from support forums to meet-up sites to hobby servers on Discord, it is crucial to remember the security you are entitled to and the consequences that can arise when your privacy is compromised. 

In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we encourage you to brush up on social media best practices to safeguard your web surfing.  

Live-streaming best practices

Whether streaming for leisure or posting in hopes of going viral, your privacy and safety are your top priority. Hosting a live stream is a real-time window into your life and can potentially attract unwanted attention. Always remember to:

  1. Use a virtual private network (VPN) to disguise your whereabouts
    Some bad actors will try to pinpoint your location in an attempt at doxxing, an act in which someone's location (or other personally identifying details) is used as blackmail or for targeted harassment. By hiding your IP address through a VPN, your location becomes obscured, mitigating the odds of this threat to your privacy and safety. Though a VPN is not foolproof, it muddles the overall picture of where you’re located and the data you’ve sent and received. This will make it much more difficult for third parties to uncover personal details that you’d rather keep private. 
  2. Enable two-factor authentication to strengthen account security
    Two-factor authentication is the act of using something you have — for example, a cell phone — to confirm your identity, as opposed to relying solely on what you know, like your password. ASU is a long-time supporter of dual-factor authentication and with good reason: ASURITE account compromises dropped by almost half in 2017 following the implementation of two-factor authentication. Why? Because a strong password is not guaranteed protection –  it’s the bare minimum that can easily be skirted around by experienced hackers. By fortifying your password with a physical device for verification, bad actors lack a crucial requirement for accessing your data. 
  3. Avoid sharing geographical details
    The most innocuous of details can be leveraged to discern greater information about your life. By disclosing something as simple as the time in your state or the local businesses you visit, it is possible to inadvertently clue watchers into your country, workplace, or even your neighborhood. To avoid unwanted encounters with strangers in your audience, limit location-specific information when describing events and telling stories. 

Image-sharing and social networking best practices

Though you may restrict your social networking sites to only include friends and family, security slip-ups allow cybercriminals to hone their skills. The following tips are a reminder to trust your gut and make caution your ally:   

  1. Be mindful of spoofing
    A form of phishing, “spoofing” occurs when an individual pretends to be a trusted friend, business or colleague by modeling their information and identity. A clever example of spoofing is a hacker sending you an email that looks like it is from your bank, complete with similar logos and email addresses. To avoid falling for this trick, carefully read through any messages that request your personal information, and keep an eye out for inconsistencies. In this scenario, you would want to search for grammar mistakes, missing letters or numbers in the company’s usual email address and color/shape differences in their logo.
  2. Be aware of your physical surroundings
    An Instagram picture of your dogs can turn from adorable to panic-inducing once you discover you left a new credit card on a table in the background. If the image quality is high enough, viewers may zoom in to find your card numbers are completely legible, and can be used under your name to make purchases. When sharing images – even among friends and family – it is always best to obscure, blur or remove any aspects of the image that could hint at valuable personal information. 
  3. Update your apps and software regularly 
    Security patches are included with almost every update to your favorite social media platform, remedying a wide array of bugs, glitches and vulnerabilities. Though it’s tempting to press “remind me later”, do not ignore the update pop-ups that interrupt your scrolling. By upgrading to your app’s newest system version, you’re enabling the greatest level of protection available to the platform’s users. 

Though the vast landscape of social media can feel daunting to traverse, there are plenty of easy steps you can take to protect your privacy. Visit GetProtected to learn more about information security, and begin safeguarding your accounts today!