Facebook is the most popular social networking website in the world. Social networking websites are specialized websites where people meet other people online and interact. They interact mostly in terms of sharing photos, videos and information about their day to day activities. The current Facebook statistics shows that the service has been used by more than 300 million users around the globe and 6 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day!
Recent survey results indicated that the popularity of Facebook usage is mainly because of the following reasons:
- Users can upload an unlimited amount of photos, videos and share them with friends
- Users can get to know what their friends are up to almost every minute of the day
- Users can compete with friends using web-based games
- Users can send electronic gifts to friends
However, as every technology has its weaknesses, Facebook suffers from aspects related to personal privacy. For the past 3-4 years we have seen a rise in numerous attacks targeting people on Facebook, where people’s privacy was lost. Social networking sites let other people know more about you, the things you do, where you are and the people you associate with. This information could even be life threatening!
There are several ways for you to stay safe in social networking sites such as Facebook. Below is a list of ways in which you can protect yourself when you are online.
1. Securely log into facebook.com using https://www.facebook.com. This will prevent people who eavesdrop on your network from seeing your password.
2. Limit the amount of personal information given to Facebook (Especially your location, date of birth, contact details). You can adjust the information shown to your friends by adjusting the privacy settings
3. Make limited profile lists where you can initially add suspicious friends to that list and after close inspection you may add them to the appropriate lists where more information about you is available.
4. Configure Facebook privacy settings to control the information shown to people and search engines.
5. Beware of phishing e-mail and suspicious links designated as from Facebook. Think twice before you click on a link.
A phishing e-mail is a particular e-mail message, which is specially crafted for users to click. Once the link is clicked it may download a virus and the virus can get installed on your machine without your knowledge.
Some links may lead to Facebook-like login interfaces which are designed to capture your log-in details. Therefore pay close attention on the web address as there can be fake login sites with addresses like http://www.faecbook.com(note the typo!) or any other address which looks likefacebook.com. You can check the authenticity of the Facebook site by looking at its digital certificate which is available when you access Facebook using https://www.facebook.com
Similar incidents can happen if you click on links which are on Facebook walls, feeds and mail messages.
6. Think twice before you add a person as a Friend. If possible, E-mail or call him/her to check if he/she has actually sent you a friend request, prior to adding him/her.
7. Facebook has an inbuilt chatting application. Never chat with people you do not know or send information that could identify you.
8. Use a strong password that no one can guess and make sure that you change it regularly.
9. Log into Facebook using only trusted computers. There may be software such as Keyloggers, which will record every keystroke you perform in a computer system.
10. Becareful with whom you share the password with. If the password is used in a weak manner it can get compromised.