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The Dark Side of Social Networking

Most online users are aware of potential security and identity threats on the Internet. RBFCU uses industry-accepted security practices to ensure your information is kept secure whether you conduct financial business with us at our branches, ATMs, by telephone or on the Internet.

However, we also encourage you, our member, to safeguard your personal information by using safe and secure online communications practices. The following tips (provided by SANS Ouch! newsletter) may help to keep you and your personal information secure while using the Internet:

  • Understand how a social networking site works before you join. Some sites allow only a defined community of users to access posted content; others allow anyone to view postings. Be cautious in joining social network that ask you to share your address book or contacts.

  • Think before you click. Be wary when visiting blogs or webpages of other members because that other "member" may be a scammer whose blog or webpage has been rigged to download malware to your computer. If you think you may have accessed a suspicious page, contact your local computer support staff, your Internet Service Provider or a computer security consultant.

  • Be cautious when clicking shortened (or "condensed") URLs like those created by TinyURL and Because shortening the link masks the destination site, you could be redirected to a malicious website. Watch out for "misspelled" links (like that may lead to a suspicious site.

  • Control others' access to the information you post. Consider restricting access to your page or postings to a select group of people, like friends, family, co-workers or members of your community group.

  • Do not post information such as passwords used for email or accounts. Posting this information may lead to stolen personal information or identity theft.

  • Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing. Many people may have the ability to access your information, so be certain your postings are suitable for all audiences, including family, colleagues and potential employers.

  • Once you post information online, you can't take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions may be stored or archived by Web search services.

  • Give thought to photos you post, as photos can be altered and/or broadcast to others. Also, think about the types of pictures you post, and who may see or access them. If you post professional images on sites such as Flickr, make sure they are copyrighted and protected.

  • Be cautious about posting information that could be used to identify you or locate you offline. If a new online friend wants to meet you in person, use caution in deciding whether to agree. If you meet him or her, be smart about it: meet in a public place, during the day, accompanied by friends you trust.

  • Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If an online interaction makes you feel threatened or uncomfortable, report it to the police and to the operators of the social networking site.

The SANS Ouch! Newsletter is a monthly publication covering security issues including current scams and fixes you should apply to your home PC or Mac.