The very term – social network – implies socialising and not discreet conversation. However the Facebooks and Twitters out there have become such an essential part of information exchange between us that we inevitably begin to look for confidentiality and authenticity within our social circles. There are numerous vulnerabilities to consider and important steps to mitigate them are documented and require your action. In brief, you should:
- switch on 2 factor authentication for your account
- consider anonymity services when using the social network
- use a good password to protect your login
- configure your account’s security and privacy settings (guide for Facebook and Twitter)
When using a commercial social networking platform, consider that you are helping create the social graph of your friends and associates. This is useful information to companies and security services. By remaining constantly signed in on your social network account in the browser, you are also disclosing your browsing habits on the Internet in general, aside from their service. This extends to many types of websites, including your news and media service. The Panopticlick project by the EFF can analyse your browser for traces of identifiable data that websites you visit will collect about you. The Lighbteam browser add-on will “visualise the relationships between the websites you visit and the third party companies that track your online activity through those websites” and the Ghostery browser add-on will help you block these trackers from collecting your personal data.