Is social media not secure? This question is as controversial as it can get. There would be die-hard fans of social media sites who would lay claims about these sites being secure, at the same time there would be naysayers who would say otherwise. But the real question should be how to improve security of the social media sites. When we are putting tons of information on social media last thing that we would want is a security breach or intrusion into our privacy. What people don’t understand is that these so called irrelevant information tell a lot about our personality and life. There have been cases in past when email accounts were hacked by deciphering answers to security questions using information provided by the individual on social media. We just can’t relax and wait for these sites to come up with better security features.
How can we ensure that information shared on social media sites is not sensitive? First of all we can start by the age old methodology of changing passwords at regular intervals. Second, we should also look into the security questions for various email accounts and check if there is any remote chance for hackers to sniff answers to those security questions using information that we have shared on social media. If no, we should be fine but if there is any chance then we should change security question immediately. Third, it’s again the old method of increasing complexity of both security questions and answers as well as changing questions of our email accounts at regular intervals. Fourth, we should keep an eye on emails received and sent from our email account and in case of any suspicious activity we should change password as well as security questions. Fifth, we should refrain from posting any information on social media which might be used against us. We have to remember social media gives us an excellent platform to self-express ourselves and connect with other people but at the same time it can cause problems if we don’t show discretion to ensure our safety and privacy.
Now there is only so much that a user can do but what can social media sites do to improve security? To start with they can make facial recognition part of the login process. Increase in the number of smartphone users globally will help in making facial recognition compulsory part of the login process. As most of the laptop have webcams except in case of very old laptops, so laptop users won’t have much to complain about. Also, desktop users can attach webcam to their monitor, and therefore, desktop users won’t be left out. But this might lead to serious security concerns as well if there is security breach. Therefore, governments and law monitoring agencies would have to come with a strong legislation to ensure safety of user data and prohibit social media sites to misuse information shared by the users. While this legislation would help in building trust among users to approve facial recognition become a part of login process, it will also help in filtering out bad users and deter unscrupulous users to harass others.
Let’s hope in future social media sites aren’t just a fad or a pain but part of our lives. With increased security and vigilance owing to improvement in technology as well user awareness it will become so. All we have to do is to be more cautious and be aware of the kind of information we share/post on social media. I would like to end this article with the following quote by Otto von Bismarck:
A little caution outflanks a large cavalry
— Otto von Bismarck