Many Facebook users fail to realize how much information about themselves they’re giving away and how easily unprincipled app makers and identity thieves can exploit that data. Here are some things you should and should not do to protect your privacy on Facebook.
Don’t Share Identifying Information About Yourself
Users who want to share some of their personal information should be sure to at least make their pages private so that only people they trust can see them. “Facebook privacy settings have multiple layers in them,” says Steve Schwartz of Intersections, Inc. “You really have to go into the depths of Facebook to ensure that you’ve set it up so only people that you know and have accepted as friends are allowed to access your information.”
Tim Armstrong, a Boston-based malware researcher at Kaspersky Labs, warns users: “The first thing everybody should do is visit the privacy settings. There’s an awful lot of customizability in there that people don’t take advantage of. You should really look at your account settings and your privacy settings and go through every single one. You can control how apps connect to your Facebook account and whether or not they can post things on your wall. You can set it up so if someone tags you on something, you have to approve it before it posts. That’s the number one thing — just going through all the settings and seeing if they fit what you’re doing.”
Be Distrustful Of Messages, Wall Posts, Or Tweets from Anyone, Including Friends
Scammers can hack your friends’ accounts and send enticing links that could lead you to an innocent-looking page, but can transmit harmful malware to your computer  and allow criminal access to your data. If a post with a link from a friend looks odd, take the time to call or email that friend to see if it really is something they posted.
Make Sure Your Browsing Session Is Secure When Accessing Facebook Account From A Remote Location
If you are in an Internet café or a place where there’s free Wi-Fi, Facebook offers HTTPS, so you can always go in through a secure browser session.
Keep Your Browser, Operating System And Anti-virus Software Up To Date
Be sure you have anti-spam software and anti-malware software, so that if someone does try to attack your computer through social media, you have something on your machine that can catch it and shut it down. Make sure these are consistently updated.
Never Post Detailed Information About Travel Plans
Thieves could be patrolling your social network and use that information as an opportunity to target your home while you’re away. Never post dates of travel plans.
Change Your Password Often
Change your password at least once a month to help minimize the risk that somebody can use your password to access your account.
Remove Apps That You Are No Longer Using
“Throughout its history, Facebook has collected a lot more personal information,” says Sarah Downey, an attorney and privacy analyst at Boston-based online-privacy provider Abine. “If you track the kinds of information that was public by default back when Facebook launched in 2004, things were mostly private by default. But Facebook has now taken the stance that you want to share everything by default. So it all comes down to: If you’re on Facebook, you are the product, not the customer.”
©2012 Off the Grid News