Although social media has brought many people together online, some privacy concerns remain today. With identity fraud, catfishing, scams, and data breaches becoming more prevalent, people want complete control of who can see and interact with their social media profiles. Some social media users also have concerns about advertisers gaining access to their information and social media accounts and posts. Issues like these have prompted social media sites to put in policies that protect their users from the following concerns:
- Getting Stalked And Harassed
Stalkers can use your information on social media to see where you are and what you are doing. If you have a private Instagram account, some cybercriminals and stalkers can learn how to see private Instagram accounts and gain access to your account. The more you share on your social media profile, the more access you give stalkers.
Thus, it is wise not to post any sensitive information, like your location, on social media. This kind of information should only be shared with people you know and trust in the real world. You can consider making your social media account private. Investing in an effective virtual private network (VPN) would be good, too, so cybercriminals can’t access sensitive information that easily.
There is also the danger of getting ‘catfished.’ This happens when someone creates a fake account using your personal information and pictures to lure people into fake relationships. These fake relationships can then be used as tools to extort money from people and put legitimate social media accounts in danger.
- Malware Infiltrations
Malware is malicious software that cybercriminals have carefully programmed to access data on computers or devices with internet access. Once the malware has gained access, cybercriminals can use it to steal information via spyware. Hackers can also use it to blackmail, extort, or scam users out of money. They can easily distribute malware on social media and rise from accessing a user’s login information.
Besides, once your password has been compromised, hackers will have the opportunity to use your profile to share more malware with your followers, friends, or family. Malware can also be used for aggressive advertising via adware. The user will have no choice but to change their passwords to secure their account or get a VPN when using public Wi-Fi networks.
- Increase In Data Mining
Anyone who uses the internet for anything leaves a data trail. This trail covers all your online activity, from what pages you accessed to posts you like on social media. It can also show hackers which accounts you follow and who follows you. When you create a social media profile, you are prompted to enter sensitive information about yourself like your name and surname, contact information, and interests, to name a few.
This sensitive information is then stored on a server that can be accessed by companies, bots, and other third-party applications and websites.
- Phishing Attacks
Cybercriminals can use phishing attacks to gain access to a social media user’s personal information. Phishing attacks can take the appearance of text messages, emails, or phone calls from unknown numbers. These attacks are cleverly disguised to look like they come from legitimate businesses and organizations.
Users may get tricked into sharing sensitive information like their physical address or passwords to private accounts by making the sender appear legitimate. Phishers can also access private Instagram accounts by using a private Instagram viewer app and broadcast messages using those accounts.
- Attacks From Social Media Botnets
A bot can create fake profiles to post and send messages on social media. Some bots even have the program to automatically follow random accounts on your behalf if a phrase or word is used on your social media. A botnet is a network that consists of many bots, and these are common on social media.
These botnets are used to send spam messages to users and can also be used to steal information. Hackers can also weaponize botnets to provide cybercriminals with complete access to other people’s networks, phones, computers, and other devices.
Update your passwords consistently to protect yourself and address any privacy concerns you may have. You can also avoid using public networks, but you can invest in a good VPN if you have no other alternative. Moreover, you can turn off your geo-location and only turn it on when you need it, like when you are using the map feature of your smartphone.
By following the precautions discussed here, you may be able to address some social media privacy concerns, ensuring your account remains secure.