Whether it’s tearing society apart or improving longevity, social media at its best helps us foster relationships, build connections, and unwind after a long day. That’s why it’s sometimes easy to forget the potential security risks behind every login, post, and share.

Luckily, Megan Perkins—Northeastern’s Information Security Manager for the Office of Information Security—has shared reminders of how to browse social media safely.

Exercise good judgment!

Once you post, that information has been seen by others and in most cases cannot be retracted.

Privacy settings exist for a reason.

Be sure to check your privacy settings on your social media accounts, ensuring just friends and family view the information you post.

Change passwords regularly.

Don’t forget to also use a complex password for each account you have, and ensure they’re all unique to each account—the more varied they are, the tougher they are for cybercriminals to solve.

Know a site’s security features.

Many social media sites offer two-factor authentication (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn). Take advantage when you can!

Close old social media accounts.

If you have a social media account that you are no longer using, close it. Do not risk leaving any personal data on the account as this information can be accessed by hackers to gain access to your other social media accounts.

It’s so important we will say it twice!

Be conscious of your privacy! What you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see.  Recent research found that 70 percent of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online.

Your online reputation can be a good thing.

Recent research also found that recruiters respond to a strong, positive personal brand online. So show your smarts, thoughtfulness, and mastery of the environment.

Read privacy policies!

Yes, they can be long and complex, but they tell you how the site maintains accuracy, access, security, and control of the personal information it collects; how it uses the information, and whether it provides information to third parties.

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