Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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DW Life > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 8 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 49 help, she says she never received support from the platform. "I had given up," she says. "But I logged in as the hacker, played around with passwords, and all of a sud- den I was in! I changed the name back and changed the password. But it reminded me that we don't own these platforms, and they can be gone." "Social media can be used to build your brand and connect with friends and family. It can also be used in ways you can't expect," warns Tiffany Schoe- nike, director of campaigns and initiatives for the National Cyber Security Alliance. "What identity thieves and hackers do is cast a really wide net, to gather as much information as possible, to gather information and sell it, and get the greatest benefit for the least amount of action or effort." Schoenike says many social media users overlook the additional ways the information they post can be used against them. In the Cambridge Analytica case, by having visibility into the stories or ads that unsuspecting Facebook users clicked on, and whom they messaged and when, and by tracking their activity such as regularly checking in to a local coffee shop or a child's school, the firm could make assump- tions about users and customize what they saw on Facebook, say, ads for a BMW. Online stalkers can use that same kind of tracking to stalk you physically. Cyberstalking attorney and victim advocate Alexis Moore has a client—a real estate agent—who uses Facebook for business purposes. She accepted almost all friend requests, considering them potential home buyers. She posted open houses she hosted, fund- raisers she supported, and events in which she participated. Sud- denly, a man started showing up everywhere she was. "She was being relentlessly stalked," says Moore. "He was ha- rassing her. She contemplated bankruptcy because he kept fol- lowing her and became friends with her friends. He knew exactly what to do below the threshold where law enforcement would get involved." After the real estate agent contacted her, Moore advocated for her, noting that the law doesn't require a death threat or evidence of physical violence to compel the authorities to investigate. Moore helped her file a police report, and the man was arrested, and ultimately convicted, of cyberstalking. DW Victoria Lim is an award-winning investigative journalist, newsroom trainer, and communications consultant based in California. Eight more ways to protect yourself on social media 1 Share the least amount of information possible. If you don't need to use your full name, choose a nickname or handle. Don't add your birthday, photo, and current location if not required. You can let those you want to connect with know how to find you. 2 Don't feel the need to friend or connect with everyone. Whether it's your boss, an ex, or a stranger, you can decide if you want someone as a connection. Don't forget—there are fake accounts. Be "friends" with friends in real life. 3 Consider two-step authentication to log in to your account. In addition to your password, activate this where possible. It will require a security question, confirma- tion through a code texted to your phone, or additional steps to log in. 4 Skip the quizzes. You've probably seen the ones that claim to predict your age, your favorite city, or where you really should have been born. They get access to your information, your connections, and your patterns when you participate, which can be a default agreement to their terms and conditions. 5 Click only on links you trust. Those headlines can be attention grabbing, but clickbait is rampant. A fake link could unleash malware that hijacks not only your ac- count but your device. If you don't know the source, don't click. 6 Turn off your location on your phone. When you take a photo, it could be geotagged with the date, time, and coordinates of the location. Disabling that function keeps your exact location private. 7 Share with care. Obviously, posting a photo of your passport or driver's license hands over all the informa- tion an identity thief needs to do some damage. Think about how a joke or a photo could be taken out of context. Is that something you want to have to explain or apologize for? 8 Remember: A post can last a lifetime. "No, you cannot erase a social media presence completely. Once it's online, it's there forever," says Tiffany Schoenike of the National Cyber Security Alliance. —VL More than two-thirds of Americans use social media...but less than 10 percent of users believe social media platforms protect their data

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