How To Avoid Privacy Breaches On Facebook ( Privacy Settings Tips)?

It`s a Monday morning, and you`re sitting down with your first cup of coffee.

You open up your Facebook, and you`re excited to see that someone liked your latest profile picture.

“Omg!” you flattered. “I might have got beautiful comments too!”

Then you look closer, and you slam your coffee mug down in disgust.

The comment isn`t from an intimate, friendly person who enjoy your friendship and wants to appreciate your best pic.

It`s from your EX.

Yuck.

This comment makes you puke.

Your EX has taken his/ her revenge.

Hate commenting is an annoying, depressing part of social life.

Social- media plays a love- hate relationship with you. Dealing with it is a lot like playing an endless, irritating game of Whack- a- Mole. The game never ends, you waste a ton of your time and peace of mind.

Perhaps it`s time you got yourself a better shield.

What are the Threats on Facebook (and Does Facebook Care)?

If you are not aware of Facebook Privacy Policies, sooner or later you might experience online bullying. It starts with a not so decent comment on your public picture. And often take a dirty turn.

Here are some Privacy Threats on Facebook:

  • Photo and video sharing- Privacy advocates are concerned because much of user`s personal life and social environment are revealed in these multimedia collections. We have found that Facebook doesn’t delete photos immediately when a user request they are removed.
  • Social networking- Facebook has billion of online profiles sharing personal and sensitive information freely with vast networks of friends and an unknown no of strangers. Risk range from identity theft, online or physical stalking to embarrassment and blackmailing.

Like all companies, we can`t assign Facebook a term like “caring”. They do care about people privacy but their primary goal is to make money.  But Facebook has ensured that users got to have rights about setting their privacy setting.

How to stay safe on Facebook

If you are worried about your vulnerability in Facebook, you can do these things:

  • Learn how to use Facebook’s privacy shortcuts and settings to comfortably share and connect with others
  • Learn how to recognize sensitive content and behavior and how to report it
  • Follow this simple rules and you will never find yourself vulnerable to online threats:
  • Never share your password
  • Think before you post
  • Adjust your privacy settings and review them often
  • Only accept friend requests from people you know personally
  • Report things that look suspicious

We’ll deal with making your Facebook presence safer in next few articles. In this blog post, I’ll dig on Facebook privacy settings.

Control the stuff you want others to show

You can control your activities and post by limiting the audience you share with and filtering out the persons and groups you don`t want to share.

The default settings for sharing post is public, however, we recommend to set it to Friend unless you are a celebrity or maintaining a page that directly influence your business interest.

We`ll deal with the controlling who can see your stuff first

1. Click on the privacy settings button on the far right of your Facebook account

privacy- shortcuts

2. GO to “Who can see my stuff?”

who can see my stuff

3. Inside the menu, it will show who can see your future post, in this hypothetical example, my post is apparently visible to “Public”. That means anyone in Facebook can view my post (including my friends, my friends of friends and many unknown people)

public can see

4. This can be easily fixed by changing the option to “Friends”

Friends can see

5. Remember you can change this setting for individual posts anytime

individual post- Facebok Privacy Settings

Bonus Tip

If you want to restrict your posts so that some of your friends can`t see the post. Then the Friend setting has a couple of tweaks as well.

Here`s How to restrict some of your friends from viewing your posts.

6. Repeat the process till step 2, then below the sharing button, you will see “More option”

more option- Facebok Privacy Settings

7. Click on Custom option

custom- Facebok Privacy Settings

8. Once you are in the custom setting you can do few tweaks

custom privacy- Facebok Privacy Settings

9. You can either include all your friends while excluding the names of certain Facebook friends you don`t want to see your updates

exclude friends- Facebok Privacy Settings

  • If you have built list of people then you can put them  either  in “include” or “exclude” list

This restriction could come handy if you want to make sure that your work friends don`t see your selfie when you called in sick or you want only your college Friends to see your late night party pictures.

Control “Who can connect with you?”

You can comfort yourself  a little bit by controlling how people connect with you in Facebook.? it always advisable not to accept strangers friend requests.

 1. Click on “Who can contact me” inside privacy setting button

who can contact me- Facebok Privacy Settings

2. By default, there are only two option “Everyone” and “Friends of friends”. We recommend choosing “Friends of friends”

friends of friends- Facebok Privacy Settings

3. Save all the settings.

That`s it! You are safer on Facebook now.

The Hidden Risk of IoT Devices that Could Ruin Your Life

In 2016, 1.6 billion internet connected things will be used by smart cities according to the estimates of Gartner Inc. i.e. 39 percent increase from 2015.

The estimates suggest; there is a quick turnaround for smarter gadgets and smarter home among the minds of people. And creative companies are working hard to build smart gadgets that will suit the needs of consumer and make their life easier.

Consumers too are waiting eagerly for life enhancing products but it leaves product manufacturers and designers to come up with a cutting edge quality product in shorter development cycles. What happens finally; a substandard product is rushed to the market, the poorly constructed software allows cyber criminals to crack in.

IOT Devices that are overlooked for security measures include web cameras, smart TVs, printers, routers, thermostats, etc. If you don’t want others to unlock the door of privacy then before you go with IOT, you may have to consider the security risks too. Ensure your device is not a compromised version.

Cyber Criminals are Eyeing!!

Webcams

The most targeted devices by hackers; with the help of Shodan, the search engine for IOT devices, it has become much easier. CNN Money reported Shodan as the scariest search engine on the internet; I have no arguments on that, in fact the scariest. Do you want to experience it? Spend some time with this video; presentation by Dan Tentler at Defcon 20.

Hackers have not left out baby cams either; In April 2015, a hacker posted feeds from 1000 baby monitors. Literally, you have to be careful before going live on internet.

Smart TVs

Inarguably, the most widely accepted IOT device but have faced criticism for invading privacy many number of times. Wondering, how smart TVs invade your privacy? Often big brands track viewing habits of consumers, which they will share with advertisers. And the worst part of all, these viewing pattern are sometimes connected with IP addresses, this will open the gates for hackers to dig every device on your home.

Wi-Fi powered switches and bulbs

You won’t expect this to happen, when you decided to go with Wi-Fi enabled light bulbs and switches. These innovative gadgets often fail to encrypt network communications, most of the application lacks transport encryption. What happens is, the intruders could find a way to read data traveling from device sensors before it reaches the cloud. This is not always due to manufacturers fault, may be the protocol used is responsible for it. There is some research going into it, in 2015 researchers found you can take over every IOT device connected to a hub, if you can compromise the protocol used for it. The least you want to hear.

These are just examples, cyber criminals are shrewd. If you are not fixing the holes and bugs in your system. They are going to run you. You have to be smart to stop them, don’t leave a chance to track. From picking your devices, setting up the password; you have to play a decisive role. Here’s what you have to consider before adopting IOT devices.

Don’t adopt any IOT device just by seeing the mere features. Give sometime to research; read the reviews and news about the device.

Ensure devices have got strong usernames and passwords; most often people tend to use the default username and password, which is a big mistake.

Keeping changing the security credentials, don’t use the same access credentials for long.

Go through the privacy policy to get info on how your data is collected or used; so that you can avoid services that invade the privacy of yours.

Install firmware and update security settings regularly to fix bugs.

Hopefully this will help to stay away from cyber criminals. Share your opinions and suggestions in the comments section.

No More Nightmares! Tips to Secure Password to be Safe Online

An article published in Forbes recently – Americans aren’t doing enough to protect their privacy online; left me thinking. Do I have a secure password?

I have to say, it’s utterly shocking to see the statistics. 98% of American consumers believe their passwords are safe enough. But a study by Avast, company specialized in Mobile and PC security shows only 6% out of them are safe.

And 69 % of the respondents fear hackers targeting their personal information most importantly. The fear is obvious, because another research says 74% percent of Americans have their nude photos leaked than their banking details. Of course, I came to know about these information from Forbes.

The entire statistics you can cover by reading the original article. In this article, I will try to give you insights on how to be safe online by creating a secure password.

So what should we really do? May be a password make over.

I meant to do it for myself anyway, as I was pretty sure I got a weak password by then.

Hackers!! This is not to challenge you by saying, I got a strong password. And by the way, there are no nude images in my online accounts.

Security expert’s states; “Passwords should be no less than sixteen characters with numbers, letters and symbols”.

It’s not an ideal choice for me and may be for you also, it’s hard to keep track of such long passwords. But at the same time don’t want to expose myself to the nightmares.

If you have not thought about your online account safety, I would say, it’s time to think.

Common mistakes that we make when creating passwords.

The most common passwords of 2014 for many web users ranges from “123456”, “password”, “12345”, “qwerty” to “football”. You are leaving it to hackers by creating passwords in this genre, they can just try the most common words and numbers to run you.

The importance of having a secure password: Look at this infographic by TeamsID

secure password infographic

I took this infographic as the base, to work on passwords.

Be safe and sound on online

It’s time to get rid of these common mistakes. I spoke to several experts from different fields from online reputation management to cybercrime. The tips, golden advice’s and the wealth of information gained from these conversations can surely help us to have a safer online experience.

Tips that will save you from a potential hacker

It’s important for us to protect our personal accounts and information. Here are the suggestions; to kick start the process we have to clean up our passwords and organize our online activities. A more secure password is an ideal choice to be safe online.

Different email account for different reasons:

Having four or five different email accounts: 1. Family and close friends, 2. Social media, 3. Public, 4. Banking, 5. Shopping. This can help you to protect your private information and better manage your online activities.

Different Passwords:

The worst thing to do is having same password for all your profiles. Suppose, if your one account is compromised, you don’t want to give a lead to take on your next account. Potential hacker on a field day can destroy your life, so ensure that you are using different passwords. You can only stop hacker by making things harder. Don’t let him run away.

Avoid personal clues when creating passwords:

Don’t mix up your passwords with date of birth, name, location, spouse name or any such personal information. These information are publicly available, which leaves clues and people can make a wild guess to crack your password. Also add hobbies, nickname into the list of personal clues.

Put some extra thought

To create a high quality password you need to include numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters. But it’s important to remember them. So instead of mixing these factors wildly, you can consider using control characters and non-English words. For example: use number for a letter, i.e. 1 for “i” or 0 for “o”. This way you will be able to remember your passwords easily.

For different accounts, you can consider making some changes to the prefix or suffix of your password, so that it’s not entirely different.

Refrain yourself from giving out passwords

To get help, people give out passwords. If it’s a must, then you have to, but you should change them as soon as possible. Don’t leave them message about your password, better make a call to give the password.  Some people prefer to make use of password managers to keep track of their passwords to keep them safe online. And many store their passwords in a location on their PC. If you are storing on your PC make sure that you have buried it well, use hide feature.

Give something fake

Often while creating email accounts, providers ask for security questions to help us out, in case if we have forgotten the password. This is where hackers turn successful most times, if they have not cleared the normal method. So, here we have to change the cards; fake everything here. Create your own question and give a fake answer. This will upset the hacker.

Try these methods to be safe online.

Got anything to add into the tips, share with us in the comments.

4 Most Powerful Advice on Internet Safety You Should not Avoid

Over the years, Internet has changed from just sending mail to a mass broadcasting media. Internet revolutionized the way we communicate, the way we connect and the way we work. We`ve never been so connected to the world before. People are closer now.

On the other hand it makes you, your family more vulnerable. You are exposed to everyone. Anyone can find you sitting in a couch miles away. They can see what you are doing, where you are hanging out, where you shop, your personal likings… everything.

The funny part is you only allow them to see your personal lives. By sharing photos, by making statements, by documenting your personal information online. You leave footprints online which can be easily tracked back to determine your personality and behavior. Your online presence defines you.

My goal with this post is not to completely detail ins and outs of Internet, but to give you a glimpse what you do with the internet can impact your life sooner or later. Let me draw some boundaries here. Let me set rules on internet safety.

Ultimately I`d love to hear back from someone who read this post and put something into action on his own life.

Here we go!

You are not safe

Let`s talk some statics.

According to FBI

  • 269,422 online crime complaints received on 2014 on their Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  • Out of which 47.95% were female respondents.
  • The majority of complainant were on the age group of 40-59.
  • 51% under 20 age.
  • Passing trend had shown growing trends on

Auto fraud, government impersonation Email- scam, online intimidation/ extortion Scam, and Confidence/ Romance Fraud.

Feeling terrible!

I have not mentioned child cruelty, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking through the internet yet.

That’s a whole different story.

Advice I got on Internet safety from the Big guns

 I asked experts of Industries about their opinion on staying safe in this digital world. How can an average person avoid threats from the internet still don`t miss the hits of World Wide Web?

Different Password for Different Accounts

 

Internet safety
Image credits: Business Insider

More than 200 social accounts, millions of sites and then your Bank accounts… And every account is linked with a password. That’s a huge pressure on our tiny brains. Memorizing them all! Forget it.

It might be tough to remember all those passwords, but it protect us from dangerous scams. One single password for all puts unnecessary risk to all your accounts (including your online transaction stuff). By any means if someone get access to one password, he/ she can get them all.

“Instead use password managers to manage your password list.”

For Online Transaction use Two-Factor Authentication

If it is a transaction! Use two-factor authentication.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA) is a way of securing your access to any portal by providing two means of identification.

For example, Google provides two way of Authentication process for Gmail accounts. Password and user id plus a token code that is texted to your mobile.

When you use online services like PayPal, internet banking for the transaction of money it becomes even more important.

Suspicious Email, Throw it out

Emails asking a short-term loan from Nigerian Prince with a promise of double profit is one of the examples of suspicious Emails. Don`t fall for such Emails.

Here`s a short description of how suspicious emails look like.

      • Emails from strangers asking to click on a link or open attachment. If you don`t know what is it about never go for it. And do not open a .exe attachment.
      • Spoof emails asking for your personal information or asking money for a job are conjured for scams. This is called phishing. If you get an email from someone like a bank, eBay or PayPal, saying there is a problem with your account, forward it to the company in question to get confirmation it’s from them. Never do that most companies never ask for your passwords.
      • Even emails from your friends can be a spam to trick you. This happens when hackers got on your friends account and use that account to leverage their friends.

Use your wit and sense to spot a fake mail. Nationwide Bank has good documents on phishing and emails scam.

Be Online Savvy

Be careful what you post online. Because whatever you post are out to see for the public. Never post your personal details, bank account details, and any other confidential information.

You don`t want to know a burglar that you are on a holiday and your house is empty. Also, you might not want your indecent posts to be seen by the employer. So be savvy, aware and decent online civilian.

Did you find some useful savvy tips here? I bet this advice will leave hackers clueless. This might seem basic stuff, but simply implementing this tips in your life you can escape from jaws of devils.

And I will love to hear from you if some of these tips hit you or have something more to say. Keep updating me and I will come back and make it a bible for ditching online crimes.

Stand Against Cyberbullying With Tech

 I have grown as a disturbed child.

In my 8th grade I stopped being social, was not talking to my friends, dropped out from school and my world ended inside the concrete walls.

My Grandma was pretty much worried. I was raised by her, but never was comfortable talking to her. One day she took me to school and she sat with me till dawn.

That was the end of my deprive life. I never felt horrible again before them.

You should not be surprised how I survived through that mental trauma, self-depriving, humiliating years. My grandma became courage for me. Seeing an old lady who strolls doing so much for me so that I can go school gave that courage.

That doesn`t mean they stopped. Only the frequency was less this time, which faded away over the years.

That was the year of the eighties. What we call bullying today was a child`s play that time. But the ugly face of bullying was yet to come.

Now bullying has come out of class, streets and open for all on computer screens. This is worse than ever. Now bullies get a global audience. And psychopaths really enjoy the other`s agony, depression and they love to laugh at other`s embarrassing situations.

I don`t know whether the Internet has made our life easier or it has become a weapon to bullies. We have seen shaming others by Facebook posts, tweets, and embarrassing YouTube videos. Sexting, posting nude photos are common cases that we see every day.  Who are victims? Our kids.

And who is Offenders. Maybe our kids only or Adults.

Not taking the right steps is adult’s mistake. Not educating the child about cyberbullying and how to behave online that’s where we are lacking.

I am not denying the fact that we have made outstanding efforts against Cyber Bullying (Its`s just a start we need to do more).

Los Angeles-based non-profit dance company MusEffect achieved the milestone in spreading awareness against Cyber Bullying.

Their Public Service Announcement -953K  Inspiring Action Against Cyberbullying generated over 1.2 million views and inspirational stories of healing and resolution from audiences across the globe.

Isn`t it inspiring?

At the beginning, I told my story. I have been thinking all these years what I can do to stop this unkind act.

Spreading awareness with the help of tech.

Technology and Social Media misunderstood as the culprit of Cyber Bullying. But few know that tech can be the greatest weapon against what bullies see as funny. There are millions of stories around the world.

Tech is against Cyberbullying.

If not consider about these:

ReThink  an anti-Cyberbullying software.

What you can do after bullied- Blocking the bully or reporting the abuse to adults or school authorities/law enforcement. But when already damage is done, only suffering begins. And we can`t deny that only one out of ten cyberbullied kids take a stand against it.  Rest suffers silently.

Rethink founder Trisha Prabhu says, “Not much can be done after bullying”. ReThink is a software that stops cyberbullying before damage is done. It helps to train teens making better decisions on Social Media. ReThink alerts teens whenever they think of posting something that they should not. They are forced to rethink and review before posting that message.

Did I say she is only fifteen a teen herself? A fine example of Teens against cyberbullying.

Rethink before cyberbullying someone
Rethink Founder- Trisha Prabhu

Cyber bullying can be anything. Posting vulgar messages about someone, threatening someone, sexting, posting nude or semi-nude photos… Often the person we choose to trust turns out a Bully.

Cyberbullying.org research center conducted a research. And asked hundreds of groups of students how many of them know any of their friend`s social account passwords. Surprisingly, most of them said “Yes”.

Passwords are for keeping secret (hope at least we adults do). But adolescence is like a car without brakes. They do without thinking much. They put themselves at risk of cyberbullying, identity theft or other dangers of sharing and exposing passwords to their friends.

Some people might not do it. But some of us prefer to keep it on sticky notes, spreadsheets after all it is hard to remember all of them. The point is, it might reveal to someone who can take advantage.

Do you know Tech can help you with that? One effective solution is Password Management Software. I have listed a few of them below.

Note: I am not affiliated with any of them. I genuinely want to help you. Please verify by yourself before purchasing.

On my last savior list is having a custom reporting systems in schools.

Schools are the key against cyberbullying. School administrations should be aware of commercial services which allow for anonymous reporting of bullying on the school website or school linked forums. This is pretty much helpful for students who feel ashamed reporting to school administration in person.

But many school administrations are reluctant to adopt it as this commercial services are expensive.

Anyway, there is an alternative for that. They can provide a similar kind of facility through Google Voice for free.

School administration can set up one Google Voice account created through a phone number which will be shared through students as a report line. The system distributes the student’s voicemails and texts to school authorities. School personnel have to download the Google Voice App to their Smartphone. Once the App is set to go the concerned person can respond to victims complaints. I am not saying victim’s identity will be entirely secretive as their phone number will be exposed. School Administration should adopt entirely professional approach regarding this.

Cyberbullying is a sensitive issue. Victims often shy away. But we need to understand their psychology. Do not blame emerging technologies and social media. We have to find out the solution within the resources we have. You can`t stop innovations, but you can stop Bullying.