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Durham University

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Are you being safe and social online?

(21 May 2021)

As part of our focus on cyber security, we’re asking staff to think about how they can protect their presence on social media and keep their personal information safe. We’ve created a short video to share some tips on how you can protect your social media presence. Social media is well and truly ingrained in our everyday culture. We gather in the virtual world to stay connected with friends and family, celebrate our achievements, discuss plans, share photos and so much more. And for most people, these platforms are places to have fun. However, not everyone plays by the same rules. Cyber attacks on personal social media accounts, as well as business accounts, have seen a dramatic rise in recent years, more so since the start of the current global pandemic.

What can you do to keep your guard up on social media?

Firstly, be aware of what you’re sharing. Oversharing personal information could expose your information to criminals. Posting pictures while you’re relaxing on holiday lets criminals know you’re not at home. Consider how much you’re divulging and when. You might want to wait to share those holiday snaps once you’re home.

Make sure you have your privacy settings switched on so you’re in control of who sees what. Your privacy settings give you the power to limit what other people see. This is not only useful to keep cyber criminals out, but will make sure only those you want to see your information can.

Make sure you have strong passwords...and not the same password for multiple accounts. Create unique passwords for each account (e.g. 3 unrelated words with special characters in between them), and enable Multi-Factor Authentication where available. If they become hard to remember or manage, a Password Manager can help.

Ask yourself, is the device I’m accessing my social media on safe? Whether it’s your phone or home computer, keep these up to date. For an added layer of security, also ensure you have an antivirus installed, and is kept up to date as well.

And finally, before you post, think about what you’re actually posting. We’ve all heard the stories of celebs who’ve said something outrageous in a rant. Once it’s out there, there’s no going back. Be mindful, and consider what you share and say.

To find out more ways to protect your online presence, visit our Stay Safe Online pages.

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