Your Facebook Status Can Come Back to Bite You.

Your Facebook Status Can Come Back to Bite You.

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, your blog… these and countless other websites and social networking hubs share one thing in common, and that is each one of them lets it’s users write and promote their current status. That status is usually something relatively innocuous: What a person is having for lunch, what they did the night before, or maybe even some LOLcat links.

These kind of status updates aren’t a problem, but as we become more used to posting the details of our daily lives there’s an inherent danger in over-exposing ourselves, our family, or our jobs to the public. From something as simple TMI to talkin’ trash, there are many degrees of “you shouldn’t post that online”. Here are a few standouts:

  • Zip your lip about work.

    Nothing online gets you fired faster or in hot water easier than leaking sensitive company information, trash talkin’ about your boss, or revealing co-worker secrets. Leave work stuff at work, and keep personal stuff personal.

  • Keep kids out of sight!

    Keep any info about your kids as much out of the public view as possible. Don’t use Foursquare from their school (do you really want the mayorship of a school, anyhow?!), don’t use their last names in blog posts, and make sure that pictures of them don’t have identifiable info in the background like street addresses and things of that nature.

  • Travel first, tweet later.

    Going on a vacation? Great! Just be sure to blog, tweet, or leave a comment online about it after the fact. Online criminals are looking for empty houses from the comfort of their homes instead of casing neighborhoods, so don’t blog yourself into an empty house. Do a post-trip post if you must, so that you’re not dangling fresh bait in front of the bad guys.

  • Who’s looking at your stuff?

    You constantly hear about how some online service is having troubles with their privacy settings, or is changing how things work. Make it a point to re-check your viewing permissions and be sure to set them so that only people who you want to see your profile can see you.

Bottom line? Be careful what you post. What your write as your Facebook (Twitter, blog, etc.) status can come back to bite you in a big way.

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Exposed – Geolocation Dangers and You

Exposed – Geolocation Dangers and You

On the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog.

You’ve heard that saying before, right? Well, nobody may know you’re a dog on the Internet, but through the magic of GPS-enabled gadgets, they may know where you’re located.

With today’s advances in technology and all of the swanky new things we can do with our gadgets, the dangers of geolocation are something many people don’t realize. Slowly but surely, more creeps and criminals are using technology to find victims, and GPS-enabled devices are helping them out in a big way.

Here are a few prime places where geolocation information can creep up, and why you don’t want it to show itself:

  • Your Cell Phone or Digital Camera:

    If possible, turn off any location-aware abilities, especially for pictures or any media that’s made publicly available. Exif information (which can include GPS data) can be included in pictures in some of the new/popular smartphones (iPhone and Android people, I’m talking to you), and that’s a prime example of geolocation danger waiting to happen.

    It’s not a big deal to geocode (e.g. add the GPS data) a picture you take in a store, or a restaurant, but if you’re hanging around the house or taking a picture of your kids at school, the last thing you want is to let strangers have the GPS location of those places.

  • Your Social Networks:

    Just say no to showing where you are. If you want to let people know how much fun you’re having someplace, do it after the fact. For example, if you’re going on vacation, don’t announce it on Facebook or Twitter before you go; wait until you’re back. The plus side is that you’ll be able to show off your pictures and videos, too.

    For the same reason you don’t want your geolocation revealed publicly to strangers through your pictures, you don’t want to do it on your social networks. Keep personally identifiable information safe from prying eyes.

By the way, the EFF has a great article and PDF download on living with, but not being hampered by, geolocation services and tools.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

Internet Facts (Take Them with a Grain of Salt)

Internet Facts (Take Them with a Grain of Salt)

The best thing about the Internet is that anyone can write anything on any topic and be heard around the world at the click of a button. Of course, that’s arguably also the worst thing about the Internet. 🙂

The “Wild West” nature of the web can make it challenging to find unbiased information on a variety of subjects. Your friends on Twitter say one thing, Facebook friends maybe another. And that guy on that forum? He thinks they’re both wacky. Add a few Google searches on top of it and who knows what to think?! That’s the Internet, for better or for worse. But at least we’ve got options, right?

If you’re having problems navigating through your research online, try a few of these ideas. They just might help you uncover a treasure trove of information.

  • Use multiple sources:

    Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket by only reading one website for information. Find 2, 3, maybe even 20 sources… whatever it takes to get as many angles as possible. From there you can make up your own mind based on everything you read.

  • Do offline research:

    Newspapers, trade magazines, encyclopedias; sometimes in our digital world we forget that reference books and periodicals exist. (Or dare we say, the library!) They may seem like a a dying breed, but you can still find them all around your town, and they’ve got lots of information you can use. And most of the time they’ve been edited, unlike the Internet. (Haha)

  • Ask an expert:

    Local colleges, professional organizations, and government offices usually have an information desk of some kind. If you’re looking for information on something in a particular field, see if you can find a human expert who will help you out, or at least point you in the right direction. It’s better than going it alone.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

10 Twitter Safety Tips.

10 Twitter Safety Tips.

If you’re looking for a site that really puts the “social” in social media then look no further than Twitter. In our experience the majority of people on Twitter are super friendly, but every now and again you’ll run into a creep who feels it’s his or her mission in life to make you miserable, whether it’s harassing your or sending you spam. It’s usually enough to block unwanted Twitter followers, but some people step over a line and you might need to do more than just block them from your account.

We’ve come up with a list of 10 Twitter safety tips to help you avoid the less-than-scrupulous people and navigate around some of the other hassles that come with social media.

  • Keep personal info personal.

    Don’t share any personal information like telephone, email address, the location of your home, etc. The more you give out, the more likely you’ll find yourself with a cyberstalker, and we feel that this is an especially important Twitter safety tip. Also, be careful with any geolocation service you use (even Twitter’s own), and never tweet your location from home!

  • Careful who you follow.

    It’s not necessary to follow everyone who follows you. First off it’ll start to clog up your Twitter feed when you have hundreds or thousands of followers, but secondly you’ll open the door to people who are looking for an easy mark instead of a new friend. Follow, and be followed, with caution.

  • Beware of phishing.

    Phishing attacks make their rounds through DMs (or “Direct Messages”) all the time. Before you respond to a DM, make sure it’s legit.

  • Only use trusted Twitter apps.

    Limit which Twitter applications you use, and try to only use those which use the OAuth method of connecting to Twitter. And before you give a Twitter application a thumbs up to connect to your account, do some quick research and make sure that any app you use is reputable.

  • Strong password, secure account.

    Change your password regularly and use a strong password. This is probably the easiest, as well as one of the most effective, Twitter safety tips we can give.

  • What did you click on?

    Shortened URLs are great for keeping in the 140 characters, but that makes it harder to tell where the link takes you. Some Twitter clients, like TweetDeck, allow you to preview the destination URL before you click through. There are also several Firefox addons that will reveal the final destination of a shortened URL. And if worse comes to worse, you can always add a “+” to the end of any bit.ly URL to see its information page.

  • Don’t believe everything you read.

    Mama always said there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and it goes doubly so on Twitter and other social media sites. Scammers and spammers abound, and they’d love to get their hooks on you, so be wary of any offers, contests, or messages that promise the world.

  • Parental guidance suggested.

    Parents need to educate themselves about Twitter and pass that knowledge to their children. We recommend that parents set limits on when their children can use Twitter, as well as appropriate ages to use social media without parental supervision.

  • Report threats and cyberbullying.

    If you receive a threatening message on Twitter, contact your local law enforcement agencies as well as Twitter support. Cyberbullying and harassment is a growing problem online, and there’s no good reason to stand for it.

  • Don’t go it alone.

    A tweetup is a great way to meet local tweeps, but do it smart. Never arrange to meet someone alone in real life through Twitter. Always go with a friend, and in a public place.

Using these Twitter safety tips should help keep you less likely to be bothered with the down side of social media and enjoy the great things that Twitter has to offer.

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Twitter-forced password changes; possible phishing attacks.

Twitter-forced password changes; possible phishing attacks.

There are reports coming in regarding Twitter forcing people to update their passwords. The reason: real or potential Twitter phishing attacks. Many people are talking about seeing an email from Twitter that reads:

Due to concern that your account may have been compromised in a phishing attack that took place off-Twitter, your password was reset.

At this time there is no confirmed threat, but it appears that if nothing else, Twitter is taking a proactive role in helping to reduce and/or pre-emptively kill any phishing attempt that may be occuring. Even if Twitter hasn’t changed your password and/or you’re not affected by this possible phishing attack, we recommend the following course of action for increased security:

  1. Change your password. Make sure to use a good mix of letter and numbers.

  2. Review and rethink any third-party services you’ve allowed in your Twitter Connections setting.

  3. It’s also a good time to go through your followers (and those you’re following) and check for spammy and/or suspect accounts. Things to look for in these types of accounts include, but aren’t limited to:

    • Very few, if any, tweets. Ever.
    • No tweets in the last
    • Following thousands but followed by few.
    • The same kinds of tweets sent out over and over and over.

We will report on this issue again as we find out more details. For more tips on staying secure on Twitter, check out our blog post “Six Secrets of a Safe Twitter Account.“.

UPDATE: Twitter addresses the password resets with their status update entitled Reason #4132 for Changing Your Password.

Twitter-forced password changes; possible phishing attacks.

Image courtesy of Twitter

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.

The Week in Review for 01-29-2010.

Here are a few selected RT‘s and assorted information from the StopSign Twitter account you may have missed this week. Did we miss anything? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

And here’s a StopSign blog post we talked about on Twitter, too…

  • We released a new blog article titled “7 Tips for Better Email Etiquette“. In it you’ll find ways to not only be courteous, but also to make sure that your point gets across.

Thanks for taking the time to check out our blog! We want to hear from you on the @stopsigntweets Twitter account and here on our blog, so don’t be afraid to ask us a question, give us some feedback or just say “Hi”.

If you're looking for great anti-virus software that won't break the bank, try StopSign. You don't pay extra for tech support for difficult malware, and our web protection software just works. Download & install StopSign to find out why our members choose us over the other options.