Social media has taken the Internet by storm. With a few clicks of a mouse, it is possible to re-connect with friends, former co-workers and alumni. This has opened up the door to access many opportunities both personally and professionally. For example, none of the international business opportunities I have had would have been possible without the Internet. Without social media, I would not have made the connection on Twitter and LinkedIn that has made it possible for me to blog here for over a year.
We now take social media and the Internet for granted. From time to time, it's important to pause and remember that using the Internet and accessing social media sites does have its risks.
Social media has been in the news in recent weeks. Facebook has been on the front page because of the IPO. LinkedIn has been in the news this week because of a security breach. It may be surprising, but some event planning professionals still haven't heard about it. Consider this the equivalent of a public service announcement for #eventprofs courtesy of Cvent Blog. Take time to scan the headlines and read these articles in depth.
- 6.5 Million LinkedIn, eHarmony Passwords Leaked Online (CBS)
LinkedIn Was Breached. Now What Do You Do? (New York Times)
Security researchers have confirmed that a file containing 6.5 million encoded LinkedIn passwords has been posted to a Russian hacker site.
How small businesses can avoid a data security disaster like LinkedIn’s (Washington Post)
Small businesses live and die by the quality of their contacts....This special “link” makes Wednesday’s social networking data breach particularly troubling to small businesses. After the leakage of a combined 8 million LinkedIn and eHarmony passwords, business owners are rightfully wary of the fallout. The greatest risks: phishing, extortion, and ultimately fraud or identity theft.
So how can you keep yourself safe and secure on-line? At minimum:
Make sure you don't use the same password for your-email account and your social media sites.
While using the same password makes your life easier, it also makes it easier for hackers to access all of your sites if the password for one account is discovered.
Never click on an e-mail or Twitter link and then enter password to access a social media site.
An e-mail with a link could be a phishing attack and an attempt to steal your password.
- If you haven't changed your LinkedIn password, change it immediately and then change it again in a few days.
- Change social media passwords monthly.
When responding to discussions on LinkedIn and other on-line communities, never post your e-mail address.
Posting your e-mail address ensures that it will be harvested by spammers and scammers. Instead, adjust your settings so that group members can contact you through the social media site.
Until you contact the social media site directly to confirm that a tool is bona fide, be cautious and avoid using external tools.
They could be an attempt to harvest your password.
LinkedIn: Please know that we have no affiliation with this outside website. As a general best practice for keeping your account secure, you should never provide your email address or password to a website you're unfamiliar with.
As hackers and scammers get smarter, it is essential for social media site users to "up their game" and take steps to protect their identity and security.
To keep abreast of LinkedIn security developments, visit LinkedIn Blog immediately and subscribe to receive the e-mail updates.