Now more than ever, consumers spend increasing amounts of time on the Internet. With every social media account you sign up for, every picture you post, and status you update, you are sharing information about yourself with the world. How can you be proactive to stay safe online and, “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.”? #BeCyberSmart and take these simple steps to connect with confidence and safely navigate the social media world.
DID YOU KNOW?
- 3.48 billion people worldwide now use social media worldwide. That’s an increase of 9% from 2018. Put another way: 45% of the total world population are using social networks.1
- Digital consumers spend nearly 2.5 hours on social networks and social messaging every day.2
- 69% of U.S. adults use at least one social media site3 and the average American has 7.1 social media accounts.4
SIMPLE TIPS TO OWN IT.
Remember, there is no ‘Delete’ button on the Internet. Share with care, because even if you delete a post or picture from your profile seconds after posting it, chances are someone still saw it.
Update your privacy settings. Set the privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. Disable geotagging, which allows anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time.
Connect only with people you trust. While some social networks might seem safer for connecting because of the limited personal information shared through them, keep your connections to people you know and trust.
Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab a coffee. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time. Read the Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet for more information.
Speak up if you’re uncomfortable. If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or you think is inappropriate, let him or her know. Likewise, stay open-minded if a friend approaches you because something you’ve posted makes him or her uncomfortable. People have different tolerances for how much the world knows about them, and it is important to respect those differences. Don’t hesitate to report any instance of cyberbullying you see.
Report suspicious or harassing activity. Work with your social media platform to report and possibly block harassing users. Report an incident if you’ve been a victim of cybercrime. Local and national authorities are ready to assist you.
As a partner in the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity awareness campaign, the Department of Commerce is doing our part to make the Internet safer for everyone by participating in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). Learn more about NCSAM 2019 and how you can be cyber safe at https://niccs.us-cert.gov/national-cybersecurity-awareness-month-2019.
1Kemp, Simon. “Digital 2019: Global Digital Overview.” DataReportal. January 30, 2019. https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2019-global-digital-overview.
2Gwi. “Latest 2019 Social Media User Trends Report.” GlobalWebIndex. 2019. https://www.globalwebindex.com/reports/social.
3Newberry, Christina. “130 Social Media Statistics That Matter to Marketers in 2019.” Hootsuite Social Media Management. March 13, 2019. https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-statistics-for-social-media-man….