Users are still too careless in social networks

Kaspersky Lab’s research shows that some users are too eager to share everything they have when it comes to social networks

What are social networks usually used for? For the most part, people use them to stay in touch with their friends, watch funny videos or catch up with the latest news. It may seem that Facebook and other social networks appear to be safe and cozy virtual world where we can see and be seen by our friends. Perhaps the best thing about them is that we can access them pretty much anywhere, even from our warm and cozy beds.

People have become accustomed to sharing a lot about their lives. Many post things ranging from their trips abroad to expensive gifts on Facebook or Instagram. For some, posting selfies and checking in everywhere they go has become utterly essential as it allows them to grow their follower or subscriber base and generate a wow-effect. Outside of the regular Joe and Jane users who follow people, social networks are a boon to spies, jealous or crazy ex’s and cybercriminals.

While we may have learned that we should not talk to strangers from an early age, a lot of people forget about it when it comes to social networks.  According to recent research from Kaspersky Lab, 28% of social network users neglect privacy settings and leave ALL of their posts and photos public.

Many people are also careless towards virtual “friends.” One in ten surveyed eagerly confirms each friend request they receive — even from complete strangers. Every third person is ready to befriend unknown people if they have at least a couple of mutual friends. But, hey, who told you that your friends really know this person? They could have just added them because this stranger asked.

These “friendly strangers” can easily turn to be sellers, promoting unnecessary goods from an online store that they are an affiliate for, most notably in the weight loss or physical training space, or just a bot for some illicit late night webcam “chats.” At best they will just spam you, but in the worst-case scenario, they can turn out to be real cybercriminals.

We believe that’s reason enough not to rely on that false safe feeling, which arises when we are sitting at home behind several doors and exploring the Internet. The virtual world is far from your home and our data is kept on some virtual international ground. If the data’s not protected, anybody can come and take it. And they frequently do.

That’s why you should be extremely careful about which types of personal data you publish online or share with software developers, Internet shops and other third-party organisations.

If you still have your social networks unprotected, it might be worth checking the privacy settings today:

– Set proper privacy settings. Click on the hyperlinked text for a “how to” on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and even;
– Reject all pending friend requests from strangers;
– Install a comprehensive security solution, which will protect you from phishing, prevent you from downloading malware and stop you before you share your personal data with an unnecessarily impudent web-service. For example, Kaspersky Internet Security can do all of these and even more with ease.

And remember: links, sent by strangers, can redirect you to malicious websites, so don’t follow them.