Tips to make your Facebook account Safer, Dr. Sudan Jha

Things you MUST do and things you MUST NOT

Despite of the low Information Technology literacy in Nepal, we find most of the people of all generation going through latest version of handheld devices embedded with social apps the most preferred the Facebook App. No doubt today Facebook is the fastest growing social networking site. Nepal can’t be excluded. The Facebook has influenced our life in such a way that it has become next to addiction. We must understand that 1 out of every 20 cyber attacks originate from/on the Facebook and most of them are found to be from your own friend.

I was viewing Crime Patrol telecasted from Sony television a couple of weeks back and was astonished in which a girl was raped and the root cause behind was the app that her friend used to book a cab online through one of the app. The app was hosted from unknown place but the user accessed the app from Facebook. The case is still under processing. One of another bitter experience I myself had; when I was taking a lecture to one of the pre-final engineering students’ class. Two of the students were not concentrating on my lectures. They had both of their heads bowed down to the studying bench. I doubted & cross checked both of them sitting in opposite corners/sides of the class room with. To my surprise,I found them chatting on the Facebook. Obviously, there are a lot of pros and cons of Facebook.

It is said that up to 250,000 new Facebook users are being added every day. What about Nepal? Nepal and her users can’t be excluded from this real scenario. Our literacy is low. Again if we talk in terms of Computer and IT literacy, it is below 5% which is negligible. Now let us analyze the people who use Facebook, apps, handheld devices and whose literacy in these technologies falls beyond the 5% category. Are you secured enough to play with all these social networking sites and apps confidentially? I doubt, because most of us (genuine users)include our real name, real picture, even some of our personal details like personal email ID, personal cell number, and also the details of family member et cetera.And on the other hand we have seen people typing the passwords in such a way that anylayman can easily understand or guess what characters he has entered as a password, even the case is same with security patterns.

i.e. There are a lot of risks and your profile can be accessed and viewed by others easily thus getting valuable information and private photos from your profile — ultimately putting you in big trouble. You can keep your misfortunes down and separate the good people from the bad ones to minimum by following these steps: –

  1. You should have a good knowledge of “Privacy Settings” of your profile. You should always Set the Privacy settings on your profile to “Friends” so that you can control who has access to your information and pictures. You can also select any pictures or status posts by choosing specific friends.
  2. Keep a continuous eye on the pictures in which you are tagged on. Or better way is you can allow the pictures to post on your wall after approving them (if anyone tags you on the picture). This can be done via privacy settings. Click on “Photos”->Photos of You->check tagged pictures of yours. You can un-tag any unwanted photos of you. Don’t hesitate for a second to “un-tag” yourself from pictures that you do not approve of.
  3. Do not post pictures of yourself such as: Dancing-on-the-bar or moments of happy hours. Don’t be caught with smoking cigarettes etc, especially if you’re underage because anyone can just print out the picture and show it to your parents or principal. The argument doesn’t hamper your freedom but just a precaution can save you from the further scrutiny.
  4. Think thrice before posting statuses, photos, videos, etc. with your coworkers, colleagues, or even your boss. Chances are high that these photographs may be manipulated and republished in ill intention. It doesn’t mean that you should not post your photos or videos, but please check the sensitivity.
  5. Avoid sending out or accepting friend requests whom you know very little.
  6. Don’t mention your phone number, mailing address, or your home address in your profile.
  7. Passwords should be specific mixed up with characters, special characters and numbers. Now a days ,Facebook instantly checks the nature of password; and won’t accept if your password status is weak. Don’t use your pet’s names or mobile numbers or something else as your passwords that are easily understandable.
  8. Never post information regarding an upcoming vacation or trip as your status.Even if you want to post your trips photos and other details, post them after you return home, in order to avoid possible robbery or any other misshapen.
  9. Passwords should be changed frequently. Microsoft’s Hotmail suggests you to change your password after every 72 days. It is recommended to change your password after every month. Most importantly, always remember to log out after you are finished with Facebook, especially on a shared computer.
  10. Don’t confuse Facebook with an on-line dating site. The purpose of Facebook is to connect you with people you know. Making your profile public means you’re sharing your information with everyone, even though you don’t know them, a risk that you wouldn’t want to take.
  11. Before clicking on a link from Facebook, always remember to check the address bar, which should always display www.facebook.com/…. Most of the time, we don’t bother about the links that we are going to open through Facebook. Very few people care about the links on the address bar.If you happen to open a link which appears like”www.facebook456.ch” or “www.facebookone.php”, etc, get your alarm bells ringing as it is not the real link forwarded or associated with Facebook. This might be a giveaway for a phisher or scammer. They indeed can steal your e-mail and password, as well as post spam links to your friends Walls. This is very important.
  12. Do not believe anything posted by any unanimous page or by anyone. It may just be a rumour directed to befit any hidden personal agenda. Always try to Cross-check. For rumors travel faster than sound and Facebook happens to be just another medium facilitating the same.
  13. Try reporting the pictures which are not in good taste and happens from some anonymous pages. Somebody somewhere would definitely thank you somewhere.
  14. Don’t post any material related to copyright. The material may be your comment, status, a note, page, photo, music and video. You can report the abusive content to Facebook Help and beware of clicking on suspect adverts

*(Sudan Jha holds a PhD in Computer Science and another PhD in Computer Engineering and he is holds the post of Professor in Computer Science and Engineering). Further he has 29 International Journal Publication, 56 International Conference paper presented and published with impact factor more than 5.03 and is indexed in 133 digital library throughout the world. His recent book on Description of IT in tribes Vs. IT in non Tribes is released on the auspicious occasion in New Delhi India by Honorable Novel Laureate Sunil Sharma)