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Social Media Privacy Can Sabotage Your Digital Reputation

Your social media privacy, if ignored, could can leave your digital reputation on life support.

Everyone from CEOs and company founders to part-time employees leave their own digital footprints on social media platforms, and how they comport themselves doesn’t always stay as private as it might seem. That’s why it’s important to think carefully about exactly what information you’re putting out there.  Even a popular site like OkCupid.com, which prides itself on its smart, statistic-driven design, temporarily made its users’ information public through a security glitch last month. 

The glitch was in the company’s “Crazy Blind Date” app, which normally only reveals its members’ first names, locations, sexual preferences and a scrambled photo. Although it lasted less than a day and there were reportedly no instances of data being stolen, users found their information at risk and out of their control.  

Mindlessly using social media of any kind can be a minefield, and you need to know where to step so it doesn’t blow up in your face.  There’s a reason why professionals make the effort to keep their personal and business lives separate, and breaches like this could permanently impact one’s digital reputation. Here are a few ways to avoid identity theft, maximize your safety and protect your business while using such Web services:

Don’t post sensitive information on your profile page. This seems like a no-brainer, but remember that anything you post could potentially be accessed by an unsavory party. Also, be careful not to give out any personal details to people you don’t trust. Keeping your cards close to your vest will help ensure you don’t lose it all.

Do your research before signing up: make sure you choose online service providers with high security standards and be wary of any site that charges you for “premium access.”

John Sileo is an online privacy expert and keynote speaker on social media privacy, identity theft and fraud. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent work on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.

Hackers Steal Business Identity Via Your Browser With Java Exploit

You should take five minutes to understand Java browser threat before it undermines your security. The internet has become much like the Wild Wild West, where individuals play by their own rules and do as they please. Think of hackers as being malicious like Mongo from “Blazing Saddles,” but as smart and cunning as the most nefarious of Bond villains. It all reads like a bad Hollywood script until you get hit.

These outlaws of the digital age have turned their attention to your browser, and specifically to Oracle Corp’s Java software, continuing their efforts to victimize unsuspecting individuals who think they’re surfing the net safely. According to a recent Reuters report, the company is hard at work on a software update meant to address a critical security flaw that would allow hackers to infect your computer, possibly even taking control of it and using it in an attack on another server.

Like most forms of digital intrusion, identity theft and fraud, the victim doesn’t realize what has happened until the damage has already been done. That can mean a massive loss of data, debilitating downtime and a significant monetary investment for even the smallest businesses. Let’s stop standing in the batter’s box watching pitch after pitch go by without taking the bat off our shoulders. Instead, it’s time to take a swing at identity theft prevention and data breach.

How often do you think your employees find themselves cruising the Web when a pop-up prompts them to install a program update or enable cookies to view a site? Do they stop to think about what it is asking them? Do they take a moment to consider the impact on your company? Do the understand how to tell if the update is real and necessary? Probably not.

Ignorance is bliss until it swings back around to bite you on the technological backside. In this day and age, that can be in the form of stolen bank account information, customer identity, Social Security numbers, intellectual property, account passwords and a plethora of other personal data that can be used to steal identity or further breach your company.

Other top keynote speakers I’ve spoken to on this subject understand why people opt for convenience over security: because we’ve gotten lazy; but that doesn’t mean we should just shut up and passively condone these bad habits. There are countless ways to avoid identity theft, like not installing plug-ins unless you know their source and their actual purpose. Even more effective is to disallow Java to run on everything but your trusted websites.  And there are many inexpensive controls businesses can put in place to make the job easier. But first, it’s time to start using better judgment.

John Sileo is an online security expert and keynote speaker on risk management and protecting sensitive information. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent work on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.