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How to Protect Your Privacy on Social Network Sites

Before posting information, especially personal information, on a social networking site like Facebook or Google+, carefully review your privacy settings. These sites give the impression that the information you provide is visible only to your close friends, but it ain’t necessarily so.

When posting information that appears on a public website (other than your own, or your social networking sites) or in any discussion venue, don’t use your full name. This advice doesn’t apply if you’re working in a business context, such as posting information on your company’s website.

Never provide your name, address, or phone number to someone you don’t know.

Never believe anyone who says that he’s from Facebook tech support, eBay fraud prevention, PayPal administration, or a similar-sounding authority and asks you for your password. No legitimate entity will ever ask you for your password.

Be especially careful about disclosing information about kids. Don’t fill out profiles that ask for a kid’s name, hometown, school, age, address, or phone number, because they’re invariably used for “targeted marketing” (also known as junk mail).

Some computers already allow you to access your information with fingerprints and other biometric scanners. However, those methods usually work for hardware only. If you want to get anything done on the Internet, you need passwords — many, many, many passwords.

Hackable doesn’t just refer to evil computer geniuses working their way into your computer to ferret out your most important data. The term also refers to far more common social engineering, in which people pair knowledge about you with other techniques to guess or obtain your passwords.

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