A guide to safe online sharing.


Sharing stuff with your phone is an effortless way to brighten someone’s day. Just copy and paste a link into an email or status update, or hit the ‘share’ button on a web page to post it on your favourite social network and share it immediately with your contacts.


But with so many links flying around, how do you know what’s safe, what you’re sharing, and who with? Here’s a guide to help keep you safe from suspect sharing – by observing a few simple pointers, you can ‘share smart’.



1. Beware suspicious links and attachments.


Friends often pass on something they think we’ll appreciate: it could be an email attachment, a joke via text, or maybe a Facebook link.


But sometimes these messages can be automated – e.g. if a person’s account has been hacked or their computer has a virus. In these cases, a link or an attachment may not be what it seems, and it might cause unusual behaviour on your computer and compromise your safety.


If something a friend’s shared seems out of character, or if there’s no personal message, don’t click on what they’ve sent you, and ask them in person if the link was kosher. Usually it’ll be safe, but it pays to be careful. Check out our guide to sharing etiquette for tips on sharing things by email.



2. Update your privacy settings on Facebook.


We’re getting increasingly savvy about our privacy settings on the popular social network. But did you know that you can now choose who you want to be able to view each individual post you make – your friends, extended networks, or everyone?


So if you’re say, sharing personal information that you don’t want the world to see, or you’re trying to arrange a private event, we’d recommend selecting ‘friends’. But if you’re sharing a portfolio or wedding photos, you might want to share them with more people, so select ‘everyone’.



3. GPS, location sharing and security.


With so many mobile devices enabled with GPS technology, you’ll never need a sat nav again. But on the flip side, it also lets people know where you are.


If you don’t want your location to be publicly visible, we recommend turning off GPS in your phone’s settings, however, even without GPS you can leave yourself vulnerable via the information that you choose to share. For instance, posting a picture of yourself on a beach or riding the London Eye in real time tells people who can see that image that you’re not at home.


You can restrict which apps can use GPS on some phones so you can be selective and still make sure you’re geo-tagging your important pictures and things.



4. Use screen locks on devices and laptops.


It’s estimated that every day, some 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised – in many cases this is due to users not being as careful as they need to be.


If you tend to leave your device lying around when you’re not using it you need to be especially wary when it comes to social media. To prevent someone else sharing items from one of your accounts, make sure you lock your device properly so it doesn’t get hijacked.


Logging out occasionally to see what your account looks like is also a good habit to get into, particularly if you often leave it running without thinking.  Are you sharing what you think you are? Take a look from a friend’s account to see what they’re seeing on your account.


For more information on keeping yourself secure online go to our Support page.


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