Protect yourself on social media – CSIR

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Especially the younger generation should be vigilant and mindful when posting and sharing information, a CSIR cybersecurity researcher warns.

Cybersecurity experts from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) yesterday warned citizens to start protecting themselves on social media.

Yesterday the council expressed concern about the huge number of South Africans who share too much their personal information freely on social media, allowing cybercriminals to exploit them for personal gain.

CSIR cybersecurity researcher Thulani Mashiane urged South Africans, especially the younger generation, to be vigilant and mindful when posting and sharing information on social media, and carefully check the permission lists when downloading applications (apps).

She said the younger generation could find themselves in troubling situations when they apply for jobs and prospective employers discard their applications because they have looked through their footprints and interactions on social media.

Mashiane said: “What’s very sad is that the people who are going to be hiring you, if you are young, are probably people who know about social media.

“It’s not like our parents when they were going for interviews and social media was not really a thing. For us, it’s different.

“So, if you go wild on social media now, in three, four years’ time they probably already know your profile, your posts and even your personality.

“So, when they’re asking you questions they probably already have that in mind.”

She also added that deleting posts off your profile would not help, as you would be deleting them from your own storage and not the internet itself. She said that once something went online, it was very difficult to take if off.

Mashiane suggested people limit the kind of information and photographs posted on their profiles.

She added that people did not need to have access to information like personal location or full names and surname, which could be used to answer security questions for certain accounts, identity theft, direct marketing and by stalkers.

Mashiane also said it was best to only download applications from reputable websites or applications stores, such as Apple’s app store and Google’s play store.

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