7 most useful Facebook tips for privacy and security

Facebook can be a boon for a company’s business or an individual’s career. But it can also be a security threat, or – as politicians have proved – a major source of embarrassment.

To reap the benefits of social networking while avoiding the snafus for yourself and your employer, here are seven tips for using Facebook. You can also pass them on to your IT staff and your company’s users:

  1. Enable HTTPS browsing — Facebook recently added the option to browse its site through a secure connection. HTTPS can be turned on in the advanced security features in the Account Security section of the Facebook Account Settings page. Just go to “Account > Account settings > Account security” and check “Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) whenever possible.”
  2. Use a one-time password — If you’re accessing Facebook from a public place where you don’t trust the security, you may not want to enter your password for fear of it being intercepted (especially if it’s a password you use for other accounts). For those situations, Facebook offers the option of receiving a new, temporary password. Text “otp” to 32665 on your mobile phone to receive a one-time password, which will expire 20 minutes after it’s sent.
  3. Change passwords regularly — There are many phishing scams and other attacks that hackers use to collect users’ Facebook passwords. In some cases, it may be possible to have a password stolen without any noticeable effects for a while. That’s why it’s a good practice to change passwords regularly.
  4. Block apps from getting your info through your friends — Certain Facebook applications can get your information through a friend’s account, even if you aren’t using that app. To keep that from happening, go to Account > Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites and click “Edit Settings” next to “Info accessible through your friends” and un-check any necessary boxes.
  5. Be careful about what contact info you show — Most experts agree there’s little need to include phone numbers and addresses in online profiles — especially since Facebook has started allowing third-party applications to collect that contact info. Including it just gives cybercriminals another chance to use it for illegal purposes.
  6. Know where your company stands — Ideally, IT should meet with other business leaders to determine how the company should go about creating social networking policies. IT can give input on the data security implications of social networking sites, while business leaders will have to decide what employees should and shouldn’t be allowed to say about the company online.
  7. Treat your profile like a resume — If you’re trying to get a new job, understand that potential employers will almost definitely try to find your Facebook profile. Keep that in mind as you shape your online identity.

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