Keeping Your Identity Safe on Social Media
Social media makes it easy for us to share our lives with friends and family. Your dog is looking particularly cute today? Snap a pic and add it to your Instagram story. Selling a few items before a big move? Share the news on Facebook so your friends have first dibs on the goods.
While social media seems like a fun addition to your day to day activity, it can come with some unexpected dangers. Even if you don’t think you’re sharing impactful details, it’s important to think of how to keep information secure on the internet.
Making Use of Privacy Restrictions
Most social media sites allow you to customize your privacy settings. Take advantage of any security features available. On certain networks you can customize what information is visible to people outside of your network and even what information your friends can see.
It’s also worth being selective in who you choose to connect with online. You want to avoid sharing personal information with people you don’t know, so be aware before you click “accept friend request.”
Keeping Up with the Latest Software Updates
Hackers take advantage of the most innocuous holes in the system, so try to keep your phone updated with the latest operating system. Make sure your applications—even the ones you don’t use that much—are up-to-date as well.
Using Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication or 2FA might seem like a pain, but if someone ever wanted to hack you personally, it’s one of the easiest ways to keep them out. This extra layer of security further protects your accounts, as it requires an additional piece of information beyond your account name and password.
That “additional piece” of information varies widely depending on what social media service you have, but whatever it is, signing up for 2FA is a solid way to help keep your accounts safe.
Oftentimes, your 2FA can be linked to a phone number or to an email address. That way if any of your accounts are attempted to be breached, you should know right away.
Maintaining Different Passwords for Each Account
By having a different password for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, you’re protecting your accounts in case they get hacked. You can even sign up for a password manager in order to keep them all straight.
And, it should go without saying, but make sure your password doesn’t include easy guesses, like your name, your birthdate, the name of your pet or the name of your kids. Creating a complex password will help keep your accounts safe.
Using a Private Internet Connection
Use a private internet connection whenever possible. Free WiFi at a coffee shop or the airport can be supremely convenient but, can pose security concerns. It’s an unfortunate reality that public networks can be easily hacked so limit your use of public wi-fi connections.
To help keep your social media secure, try to access it only from a personal or private internet connection, while using cellular data on your phone, or while using a VPN.
Don’t Disclose Your Real Name
This might seem a bit extreme, but if you don’t link your full name to your social media accounts, then you don’t have to worry as much about what you post or where to post from.
Essentially, you’re allowing your online and in-person identity to remain separate, giving you more leeway for sharing things on social media.
In addition to protecting yourself from hackers, by keeping your full name off your social media accounts you are also warding off potential employers from checking out your feed.
Turning Off Location Services on Your Phone
It should come as no surprise that some apps are tracking your location. This can be helpful for some things, like GPS, but can lead to security concerns if not kept in check.
Sharing your location with family and friends can be fun, but it can also make you vulnerable to harm if that information gets into the wrong hands.
Thinking Before You Post
It can be tempting to share all sorts of details about your life on social media. It’s so easy to snap a quick pic and post it for the world (or your network) to see.
But protecting your information online is a necessity these days. Before you post, take a minute to make sure this is information you want posted publicly on the internet.
For example, you may think posting a photo of your front door is harmless, but that can make it easier for strangers or lurkers online to determine where you live or figure out your address.
It’s also good practice to never post a photo of items like your boarding pass. You want your friends to know you’re heading off on a brilliant adventure, but boarding passes are coded with specific information that could lead hackers to your reservation, frequent flier details, and even credit card information. Sharing this information on social media could open you up to identity theft.
Online Security Beyond Social Media
When it comes to online security, social media is just the first item on the checklist. Another important place to protect yourself—all things finance. That’s why at SoFi, we offer two-factor authentication.
Another place to focus on security is student loans. Those interested in student loan refinancing can trust SoFi as a secure source that offers competitive interest rates for qualifying borrowers. Plus, SoFi members have access to additional benefits like career counseling.
Student loan refinancing won’t be for every borrower and refinancing federal loans will exclude them from federal protections and benefits. Borrowers interested in learning more about refinancing with SoFi can find out if they pre-qualify in just a few minutes.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Student Loan Refinancing
If you are a federal student loan borrower you should take time now to prepare for your payments to restart, including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. (You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.) Please note that once you refinance federal student loans, you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans, such as the SAVE Plan, or extended repayment plans.