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Office of Information Security | West Chester University | 014 Allegheny Hall
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19383 | 610-436-3192 | fax: 610-436-3110
Monthly Security Tips Newsletter
Social Networking Sites September 2013
From the Desk of Frank Piscitello
Recent hacks involving several high-profile social networking accounts once again highlight the potential
vulnerability of social media. The sheer volume of users and the information that gets posted on social media
sites create plenty of opportunity for an attacker to use social engineering or other methods to gain access to the
accounts of individuals and organizations. The more information you post, the more your security and privacy are
What Precautions Should I Take on Social Networking Sites
Below are some helpful tips regarding security and privacy while using social networking sites:
Ensure that any computer you use to connect to a social media site has proper security measures in place.
Use and maintain anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, and a firewall and keep these applications
and operating system patched and up-to-date.
Be cautious when clicking on links. If a link seems suspicious, or too good to be true, do not click on it...even
if the link is on your most trusted friend's page. Your friend's account may have been hijacked or infected
and now be spreading malware.
If you are going to request that your account be deleted, first remove all of the data. Request that the
account be deleted, rather than deactivated.
Type the address of your social networking site directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks. If
you click a link to your site through email or another website, you might be entering your account name and
password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen
Be cautious about installing applications. Some social networking sites provide the ability to add or install
third party applications, such as games. Keep in mind there is sometimes little or no quality control or review
of these applications and they may have full access to your account and the data you share. Malicious
applications can use this access to interact with your friends on your behalf and to steal and misuse
personal data. Only install applications that come from trusted, well-known sites. If you are no longer using
the app, remove it. Also, please note that installing some applications may modify your security and privacy
Use strong and unique passwords. Using the same password on all accounts increases the vulnerability of
these accounts if one becomes compromised. Use different passwords for different accounts, and do not
use a password you use to access your organizations network on any personal sites you access.
Be careful whom you add as a “friend,” or what groups or pages you join. The more “friends” you have or
groups/pages you join, the more people who have access to your information.
Do not assume privacy on a social networking site. For both business and personal use, confidential
information should not be shared. You should only post information you are comfortable disclosing to a