When online, protecting your identity should be a concern that remains at the forefront of your mind. The business of identity theft and hacking into computer systems is booming and exercising caution is your only defense against becoming a victim yourself. There are identity protection techniques that should be used every time that you are online and not necessarily just when you are on specific sites. For example, you should always protect the integrity of your computer system (and in doing so you will protect your personal information that may be stored anywhere on your computer) by making sure that you are using updated firewall and anti-virus software. It is important to make sure that these downloadable protection features are updated regularly so that you are protected from the newest tricks that are being used by hackers to bypass older versions of various security systems. Additionally you need to use good judgment when it comes to what information you make available to outside parties via the Internet. This means using extreme caution when participating in an online transaction or when chatting or sending messages to individuals who you have not met in person. It is smart to always have a healthy level of suspicion when it comes to interacting with people or websites that you do not trust.
When using a communication website such as Facebook, there are some unique security concerns that should really be addressed. Internet sites such as Facebook, whose services are meant to facilitate the communication between users, are not strangers to criticism when it comes to security. Many times predators use these sites as a sort of hot spot for easy targets. This is not to say that these breaches in security are entirely the fault of the website that sponsors personal profiles, but there are some risks that you must assume if you are going to sign up for a personal profile account.
Facebook privacy settings provide a variety of different methods that each account user can adjust to fit their own privacy and security needs. The first step in exploring these privacy options is looking through the “Privacy” page on your individual account. From the privacy page you can choose to block certain users from viewing your account, you can limit who is able to see certain amounts of your contact information, and you can even create what Facebook calls a Limited Profile. Limited profiles allow the user to tailor their profile depending on how much they want specific users to see. For example, the account holder can set up their limited profile so that only their close friends can see their entire profile and those whom the user does not know so well can be blocked from viewing some of the profile information that the account holder sees as more personal or maybe even embarrassing. Facebook privacy settings even allow you to be invisible to searches for your profile from people with whom you do not want to have contact.
Facebook privacy settings can do a great deal to deter other users from viewing your profile but unfortunately there are ways around the system. For example, a motivated individual can create a bogus profile that you do not know about and therefore have not specifically blocked if they really want to be able to access your profile information. Also keep in mind that unless you go to the privacy page and make changes to your settings those settings will remain in the default position meaning that you are virtually unprotected. Make sure that you know the risks, have read through the security and privacy statement provided by Facebook, and do all in your power to protect your identity when using Facebook.