Are you safe online?

Millions of Americans go online everyday and don’t realized how vulnerable their information can be due to the lack of security of some websites, an increasing number of phishing scams and the lack of control from their private settings.

Last year 12 millions Americans fell victim to the fraud and had their identities stolen. Today we are going to give a few quick tips on how to protect yourself from these cyber crimes. Social Media became one of the favorites “playground” for thieves and malicious virus to steal your personal information.

by FutUndBeidl

by FutUndBeidl

1. Passwords: When is the last time you changed your password? This is a very basic but important step to take but it is important change your password from time to time. Some websites allow you to see if the password you are entering is harder to crack, by stating if it is “strong” or “very strong”. Don’t make them simple like your pet’s name or “123”, but if the website allows you to include numbers, capital letter and symbols, do it! Make sure your password is “strong”, “very strong”; “very good” or “excellent”. Cyber thieves can easily identify your password if you ever made it public. On this note make sure the privacy settings on your social networks are well secure.

2. Emails: NEVER email your credit card number or Social Security number to anyone. Malicious hackers are always looking for this crucial information once they get into your account. Be very careful opening attachments and downloading files, even if you know the source.

3. Online banking: The same way you check your e-mail on a daily basis, you should monitor the activity of your debt and credit cards for any suspicious transactions. If you feel, that your account was compromised and you had your information stolen, contact your bank immediately. It is also recommended that online, you should use credit cards instead of debit cards, since debit cards do not have as a strong protection against fraud compared to credit. You also should contact your bank and ask if they have free software to protect your online banking.

4. Wireless connections: If you have a wireless router at home, make sure to make it secure by including a password, this way a third party won’t be able to access your signal connection. Some people also enable the encryption to scramble the information you send back and forth online.

To learn more about other steps you can take in case your information is stolen, click here. It is very important to share this information with your friends and family members as some of them might have your personal information stored in their computers as well. Keep an eye out and stay safe!

 

How offensive is your Facebook page?

Ever wonder if your future employers check your Facebook to gain some insight on your personal life? A 2009 Harris Interactive Study surveyed employers using CareerBuilder.com and check out the shocking results: 45% of employers questioned use social networks to pre-screen job candidates; 35% of them chose to not hire a candidate based on what they found. In today’s world, one that revolves around social networking sites, employers are relying more and more on social networking sites for background information, but have no fear, there is a new program that can help you out!

One could probably assume that their Facebook is somewhat NSFW (maybe from the college years), but the new program, Socioclean, quickly rummages through your site and gives your the opportunity to delete whatever the program finds offensive or aggressive. If you give permission to run the program, Socioclean will scan your social profile (pictures, wall posts, comments and status updates) for 5,000 words and phrases that are racial, profane, drug-related or alcohol-related and display them in an organized fashion. Though the program won’t automatically delete the inappropriate information on your site itself, it will point out the specific words or phrases that should be deleted; you have the power to get rid of the information yourself.

I ran the program on my Facebook profile and received an alarming grade: F. The report actually said “Run for the hills! Requires immediate action!” After looking through the results one by one, I discovered that context is not taken into account. For instance, I wrote a post about a cocktail dress and the word “cocktail” was flagged for being alcohol/drug related. Also, the word “fire” is flagged because it is considered aggressive, so if a post references a bonfire, it is flagged as well. I think the program means well, but some of the words it flags are ridiculous.

This program is rather helpful to job seekers because it allows you to view the post and delete it immediately if you chose to do so. I’m not sure how the Facebook privacy factor works into this; my Facebook page is completely private, therefore, anyone who isn’t my friend can’t look at any of the information on my page. It’s a good idea to set your profile to private anyways, just to be safe. It is proven that employers actually do look at Facebook pages, so the best thing to do is to keep them PG!

(Photo taken from the previously cited Mashable.com article)