The World Wide Web and the very popular by-products- the internet and social media are here to stay! What you give in terms of personal information and what you get back once you open an account varies widely depending on the platform you are on.
Here are the things to remember
Be aware of the conditions
You open an account and suddenly you can begin to interact with people on a daily basis. You can find old friends, follow icons and give your opinion or comment on every topic under the sun. But, did you read the conditions? Every platform has their own form and you need to take time to read the conditions so that you do not fall prey to harvesters.
We are told every day that our data is a commodity that is harvested, bought or sold so it is worthwhile to read or try to read conditions and check your privacy settings before you accept or sign up for a new app or web tool. Yes, the language is usually rife with legalese but if you see something that suggests that your data will be shared in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable then make sure that you tick the right boxes.
If in doubt; simply do not sign up or download the (often free) tool.
Check your settings
Go through your social media and website settings on your computer and other devices to make sure that the settings you chose are still the right ones for you. Audit your personal information and make sure that you are happy with what you have put out there and if not revise or delete anything that you feel will be used in a way that you are not comfortable with.
Unsubscribe or delete the account altogether if you do not trust a site or an app.
Audit your apps
You probably have been asked to log onto an app or site by using your primary account like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google etc. It is a good idea to check what apps you attached via your primary account because often even if you are not using the services anymore the platform is still attached to your account and may still be syphoning off your data.
Every once in a while remove any apps that you do not remember opting into or that you do not use much. If you do not check what you have opted into you will never know how your data is being used.
Read the latest tips
Be vigilant about online security and read the available tips on how to protect yourself because the amount of harm people can do to you is indeed plausible. You are vulnerable to someone hacking your account and obtaining personal details or locking you out. You can be a victim of a scam or phishing; so think before you click on a link in an email or strange looking messages sent directly to you even if it is from a source known to you.
Search regularly for and read the latest news and tips on how to protect your accounts.
Revise your passwords
Change your password ever so often and make sure that it is very strong. Also, try to use different ones for different accounts. Make use of the two-factor verification when you are offered it because no one can access your account without all the pieces.
Every year there are more and more ways that information is stolen from online spaces so remember to do these few things.