Over the past decade, social networking has become popular via the Internet. Social media has allowed users to stay connected to friends from around the world through online chats, picture/video posts, and even by sharing and viewing updates on people’s lives. Although social media has it’s perks, it has also become an opportunity for hackers to steal your valuable information, allowing spam and malware to enter your computer.

Here on 4 tips on how to be safe on social networks:

Tip 1: Be sure to customize your privacy settings

Telephone numbers, home addresses and email addresses are some of the information that you should either keep private or not enter into the network at all. Over the past decade, countless social media users have had their telephone numbers and addresses sold to third parties and hackers. Additionally, advertising companies can get individuals’ or other businesses’ phone numbers, leading to unwanted calls and telephone spam.

Tip 2: Use caution when clicking on links

Advertisements and links on social networks can present a threat to your personal identity and the functioning of your computer. By clicking on these links, one can be exposed to hackers monitoring everything on your screen. It can also expose you to spam and malware; some links will redirect you to a website that offers a quick installation of a specific software or update to programs such as your antivirus program.  Once you agree to it, malware and adware will have an open gateway to enter your computer.

Tip 3: Don’t use the same password for every account

Although it would be simpler by only having to remember one or two passwords, this would make life for a hacker very easy, if they ever happened to hack into one of your social networking accounts. If one of your accounts were ever hacked, the hacker would be able to use the same password for multiple websites, hoping to gain access to potentially valuable information.

Tip 4: Be careful when putting financial information on websites

Putting your social security number and credit card information online can be very nerve wrecking. It exposes you to the possibility of having your money and personal identity stolen. When putting this information online, be sure to check for the padlock symbol next to the address bar. This symbol ensures that all of the activity on the website will be private and secure. Also make note to scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the logos of trusted security programs. These programs ensure that the website that you are on is a safe and legitimate one.