Category Archives: Business

Changing Your Facebook Privacy Settings to Max Protect

Note:  This is part 7 in the series “The Dangers of Facebook”

Part 7 Changing Your Facebook Privacy Settings = To Max Protect

Just like with internet browsers, there are settings you need to change on Facebook to protect yourself.  If you’ve read parts 1-6 then you know the dangers and what to protect, now I’ll walk you through how to do this.

Log in to Facebook

Go ahead, log in if you aren’t already.  Try not to get distracted by all the new stuff people have posted…OMG Kim went to McDonalds for lunch today!  And she had two orders of fries!  Awesome!  My life is now complete!  Wait, back on topic.  Look up at the right hand corner of the page in between your name and the logout button.  Scroll over  the Setting link up there and click on account settings.   Let’s start with your Name.   Remove your middle name or initial if it is on there.   I’ve touched on the email so go ahead and click ‘manage’ on the privacy section.

Managing your Privacy

Try to stay with me here..Facebook doesn’t make this all that easy.  You have to jump through a few hoops to change everything.  Click on profile and restrict everything to ‘Only Friends’.   You can also customize these if you want to block certain people from seeing things.  Click Save when you are done.   On that same page click on the link called “edit photo albums privacy settings”…it’s under the ‘Photos tagged of You’.    Change all of those to ‘Only Friends’.   Then click save settings at the bottom of the page.   Now go back to the main privacy page and again click on profile..for some reason Facebook doesn’t take you right back to where you were.  But get back to the page where you clicked to change your photo album privacy settings.

Click on the tab at the top that says ‘Contact Information’, it’s right text to a tab called ‘Basic’ which is where you were.   Now you can restrict any personal information you might have listed in your account.  I would change the settings on these so that ‘No one’ could view any of it except for maybe your website if you have one for your business.  But your friends should already know your phone number (which shouldn’t be on there), your address (they can call and get this), and your email.  So don’t make it visible.  Again, click save changes at the bottom when you are done.

Now on this same page click on the ‘Visit applications page in order to change settings for applications’.  It’s in blue at the top in a sentence.   Go through all of those and also restrict to ‘Friends Only’.

Search Privacy Settings

Alright now I need you to go and scroll over ‘Settings’ at the very top of Facebook and click on ‘Privacy Settings’.  It should take you to a page Called ‘Privacy’ that lists Profile, Search, News Feed and Wall, and Applications.  Click on Search to start.

You have some choices to make here.  Do you want to be visible to everyone?  It’s your decision and really it matters if you are interested in connecting with people from your past that may only find you this way.  Unless you are really paranoid then making yourself visible to everyone is okay.

Now you want to limit the ‘search result content’.  I would uncheck the ‘pages I am a fan of’ and ‘my friend list’.  And you can uncheck that profile pic if you are uncomfortable with that.  Another way you can really protect yourself is to uncheck the ‘a link to add me as a friend’.  This forces someone to actually send you a message before they can be your friend.   If they really want to be your friend then they should send you a message…if that’s too hard for them then why be friends with them?  Finally decide whether you want to have a ‘public search listing’…is there any reason you want your Facebook profile to show up when your name is searched for on Google or another search engine?    When you are done click ‘Save Changes’ and click on ‘Privacy’ at the top.

News Feed and Wall

Once you are back to ‘Privacy’…I told you this wasn’t the easiest thing to do.  Click on News Feed and wall.  Here you need to decide if you want all of your friends to know when you post something to another friends page?  I uncheck all of this.  It’s up to you but if I post something to someone else’s page then it’s for them..not everyone.

Next click on ‘Facebook Ads’ at the top of that News Feed and Wall page.  It’s a tab at the top next to ‘Actions within Facebook’.   Change the ‘Allow ads on platform pages to show my information to’ No one.  Make sure this is set to ‘No one’.   Also set the ‘show my social actions in Facebok Ads to’ No one.  Once both of these are set to No one then click save changes at the bottom and click back to the main privacy link on that page.

Now click on the ‘Applications’ Section of the privacy page.  There are two tabs on that page…the overview and the settings.  Read the overview if you like but click on settings to make the changes.  I’m guessing 99.9% of you can’t click on the ‘do not share any information about be through Facebook API’ because you have some type of application installed on your account.  Now I would uncheck everything on that list. There is no reason that I can think of to have this information available in multiple places.  It’s just another way to protect yourself.   Click on Save Changes at the bottom of the page…DO Not Forget to do this on these pages.  Facebook has put these on the bottom of the pages only and usually below your initial screen.  Go back to the main Privacy Page.

Blocking People

Ok this should be a no brainer but if you know anyone from your past that you don’t trust, don’t want to talk to, or has harmed you then block them.  Take some time and think about anyone that would fit into this category…it may be someone who has harmed someone you know.  Do you have a crackhead in the family?

Changing Your Profile Information

Now it’s time to make some changes to your profile.  Go to your profile page and click ‘edit my profile’.  This link is found underneath your photo on the left.

Basic Information

Remove everything you can.  Your friends already know if you are a guy or a girl.  They know where you live and they know your sexual preference.  None of this information is needed for your friends.  It’s great for voyeurs and people that don’t know you.  Do not use your real bday and do not list your hometown.

Personal Information

If you have filled this out…go through everything and make sure you are not giving away any passwords to anything.  Make sure there isn’t anything on there that could be used against you by your employer or a co-worker.  Do your friends already know all of this?  Who is this information really for?

Contact Information

I recommend using an email address that you do not use for any logins for your bank, insurance, or credit cards.  Remove multiple emails.  There is no reason to have your phone number on there and you sure as hell don’t want your address listed.

Education and Work

This is really up to you.  You have to decide how much of this information you want visible and how much of it you feel needs to be hidden.

Summary

I’ve called this “Max Protect” and that’s just what it is.  Most people are probably going to opt for something in the middle…choosing to leave some of this information visible but take the time to go through it all and make a choice instead of blindly setting up your account.  That way if something should happen, at least you made a choice and live with the consequences.

Again, two things to ask yourself when trying to decide what to remove and/or make private:

  1. Don’t my real friends already know this information?
  2. If this isn’t there for my real friends then who is this information really there for?
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Your Hot Facebook Pics

Note:  This is part 6 of the series on the Dangers of Facebook

Part 6 Your Hot Facebook Pics

I bet that got your attention, didn’t it?  Hot Pics!  Well guess what, if you post a ‘hot pic’ of yourself on Facebook…it gets everyone’s attention.  Guys do not take a picture of yourself with your shirt off and post it as your profile picks and girls don’t put a revealing pic up for your profile picture either.  Your friends already know you have great cleavage..don’t let everyone on Facebook in on the secret.

Your profile pic is available for everyone to view…think about that before you decide what it should be.  Potential employers, complete strangers, sexual predators, etc.  If people are looking at friends lists they will always stop on a revealing pic.  Do you want or need this attention?  Go to a dating site if that’s what you are looking for with this pic.  Don’t use Facebook for this.

Let’s talk about that profile pic a little bit more.  I urge everyone to use a pic that is not of your face.  I have seen people use a picture of a stuffed animal, clip art, the sky, nature pics, or an animated character.  This protects your face from people you don’t know.  Once someone becomes your friend then they can see your other pics but why not protect your face from people you don’t know?

If someone from your past is searching for you and they find your name and a picture of the sky for your profile, they won’t immediately know who you are.  Is that a bad thing?  No.  They can send you a message and ask if it is you from Smith High School.  If they don’t want to send that message, if they think that is too hard, then did they really want to reconnect with you in the first place?  Plus, they can still see any mutual friends that the two of you have so they will have a decent idea if it’s you or not.  So what’s the upside to posting an actual pic of yourself in your profile?  We already know the downside.

I get a ton of hits on this blog to the strangest things…and I bet that I will soon be getting hits daily on “hot facebook pics” or something like that…which means there are people searching those things.  All the more reason to protect your privacy.

Part 7 Changing your Facebook Privacy Setting = To Max Protect

Step by Step Instructions for those who want it.

Your Naive Facebook Friends

Note:  This is Part 5 of the series on the Dangers of Facebook

Part 5 Your Naïve Friends

Alright!  Great Job!  You scrubbed your friend list, told your mom not to sign up for Facebook, rejected every fan page request in the world, and removed all your info from your account.  Protected right?  Nothing to worry about?  Wrong.

Even if you have removed all of your friends that aren’t really friends, you still have a problem.  Your current real friends haven’t read this and are naïve.  Their choices affect your privacy and security.  If their account gets hacked into…your information is now available too.  Let’s say ‘Tom’ is one of your best friends and he uses Facebook all the time.  He likes to post on your wall and make fun of you about things in your personal life…your favorite team, where you live, etc.  He also hasn’t protected his account and therefore his account gets hacked.  The hacker chooses to browse your information because it seems as though Tom likes to post on your wall a lot, so he’s got more to work with.  You are now a target because of Tom.  Tom’s not a bad person, he’s a great friend…just naïve.  And now it costs you.

What’s the easiest thing you can do to protect yourself from Tom?  Send him this link of course.  Even if he does a few of these things it will help and lessen the chances of something happening.  It will make him a less attractive target and make you a much less attractive target.

Part 6 Your Hot Pics

Dangerous Facebook Fan Pages

Note:  This is part 4 of the series on The Dangers of Facebook

Part 4 Dangerous Fan Pages

Time for me to scare away your fan pages.  No, hopefully not but there are a few things to consider and certain fan pages to stay away from.

Apartment or Housing Association Fan Pages

Are these necessary?  Do you want people to know where you live?  Becoming a fan of your apartment complex is a pretty clear sign that you live there.

Common Security Questions

Let’s take a look at some common security questions to see how they relate to fan pages.  These are questions used to protect accounts and reset passwords for all types of things like email, rewards accounts, banks, credit cards, health and car insurance, etc

  1. What is your favorite sport?
  2. What is your favorite team?
  3. What is your favorite tv program?
  4. What is the color of your father’s eyes?
  5. In what city were you born?
  6. What is your favorite color?
  7. What is your work address?
  8. What is the name of the high school you graduated from?
  9. To what city did you go on your honeymoon?
  10. Where did you vacation last year?

Ok…that’s enough of those.  Those were just a sample of 10 common questions that are commonly asked.  Let’s say your favorite team is the New York Giants and you have become a fan of them.  You might have given away the answers to questions 1 and 2.  Maybe not.  but maybe.

You’ve become a fan of “The Office” on your Facebook account…do you also list that as your favorite tv program?  Is your father’s pic on your Facebook account..showing his eyes?  Is your high school listed on there and were you also born in that city?  Are you a fan of the place you vacationed last year or went on your honeymoon?

Yes, I know this may be reaching some but just wanted everyone to be aware of this information.  Think about these things when you setup your security questions…whatever it is, don’t use it in your Facebook account.  Don’t refer to it at all.   The more information you make available the easier it is for someone to guess your password or security question answers.

Becoming a Fan reveals yourself to other Fans

You’ve just become a fan of your favorite bar in town.  Now you are getting friend requests from people who have seen you at that bar and are also fans of that bar, which is how they found you.  That’s great if you want to become Facebook friends with everyone from the bar…but obviously very dangerous because you don’t know any of those people.  Fan pages are great for businesses but very revealing to individuals on a lot of levels.

Don’t accept friend requests from people just because you are both fans of things.  You don’t know them…don’t become their friend.  Don’t become fans of things that could be considered controversial if you are looking for or will ever be looking for a job.  Recruiters may use this information to remove you from consideration or it can be used against you by a current or future co-worker.  Also, becoming a fan of political views reveals a lot about your personal beliefs.  This may or may not be something you really want to reveal.

Becoming a Fan of a Venue

I’ve started seeing more and more of these occurring.  Big concert venues are using Facebook to promote their concerts which is a great marketing strategy.  The problem is when you post on that page or confirm that you will attend that event.  If you post on that walls page, you just introduced yourself to thousands of people who you don’t know.  If you confirm that you will attend a concert on Dec 1st…you just confirmed that you will be out of the house that night.

There’s no reason to confirm on a Facebook page that you will be attending an event.  Why are you doing it?  Do not post something on that venue page’s wall either.  It’s one thing to post on a message board of your favorite band.  You create a user name and that’s it.  It’s not directly linked to the actual you…doing it on Facebook links to the real you.  See the difference?   That fan page is not a message board and don’t use it as one.  If you want to find out about events at a venue..sign up for their email list.  Why do you need to do it on Facebook?

Summary

There are plenty of things to think about before you sign up as a fan of something.  Think about what security answers you have out there and whether this fan page reveals that information.  Think about what type of people may also be fans.  What are the chances that a criminal is also a fan of the bar, the concert, or the restaurant that you just became a fan of?

You just introduced yourself to them and they may be waiting to see who divulges more information through wall postings and event confirmations.  And what about the guy who approaches you at the bar on Saturday night and says he remembers seeing you on the fan page…Sunday afternoon you get a friend request from him on Facebook.  Who is he?  What do you know about him?  If you become his friend..did you just reveal your address and when you would be out of the house and attending a function at that bar?

Get Ready for Part 5:  Your Naive Friends

What Information Should You Delete From Your Facebook Account

Note:  This is part 2 of the series on Protecting Yourself on Facebook

Part 2:  What information should you avoid putting into your Facebook Account?

Welcome to part 2 of my series on “Protecting Yourself from Facebook”.  In this section we will examine what information doesn’t belong in your Facebook account.  There are certain items that are very useful to hackers and identity thieves..and well criminals in general.

Remove Your Birthday

Do it.  I know…you won’t get all those bday wishes but that is a key piece of information about you that shouldn’t be public.  How many times are you asked your bday to identify you or an account that you have?  You are giving that information away…and easily through your Facebook account.  Consider putting a fake bday on there if you want..move it up or back by 5 days if you just have to have a bday on there.

Remove the Specific City you Live in

Don’t tell the world that you live in a suburb of Houston like Katy…just say Houston.  Or remove it entirely. Giving away your specific city allows thieves to search records and narrow down the possibilities of which Joe Smith you are.  I see 200 Joe Smiths…but only one in Katy, TX.  That presents an opportunity to any thief or criminal.  They know your name, your city; they will have your exact address very soon.  And with your pic…well you get the picture.

Do NOT mention your Pet by Name

This is very common and on the surface it shouldn’t matter if you mention your dog’s name.  The problem is that one of the most common password protection questions is “what is the name of your favorite pet?”  Did you put in your current dog’s name?  You did?  Then I may have just gained access to your account.  So remove your pet’s name or make damn sure you have never used it as your favorite pet.

Protect Your Kids

Are you using your kid’s names somewhere on your page?  Is this information available?  What about their ages or what they look like?  There are some sicko’s out there so don’t let them even get a glimpse of your kids or their information.  Remove it.  You want your friends to see a new picture of your kids…send them an email or message it to them.  Don’t put it up for their entire network of friends to see.   I mean your friends have never dated or befriended anyone they shouldn’t have, right?

Your Employer

Is your place of employment visible to everyone?  Does it really need to be?  What does your employment say about you?  The hours you work?  The part of the city you work?  Don’t your real friends already know where you work?

Your Phone Number and Email

Tell me it’s not on there.  Just tell me you didn’t put it on there.  Is that email a login for any account..maybe your bank account?  Credit card account?  That combined with all of that other info will give a hacker your password or at least let them reset it.   Make sure only friends can see that email address and/or use one you do not use for any business accounts.  And I don’t really need to explain the phone number part do I?  Again, your friends already have this information or they are not friends.  If it’s a friend you are reconnecting with then you can just message that information to them.

Summary

You might have to get creative with some of this to get around Facebook requirements.  The choice is yours as to how far you want to go to restrict your information.  At the end of the day, keep asking yourself “Don’t my friends already know this, who is this information really for”?

Part 3:  Your Mom

Read Part 1 ‘Your Friends’ List

Protecting Yourself From The Dangers of Facebook

Note:  This is part one of a multi part series on how to protect yourself on Facebook

After a long hiatus, I’ve decided to jump back into the blogosphere with something that I’ve been mulling over the past few weeks.  The dangerous side of Facebook.  Scared yet?  Facebook offers the chance to stay connected and reconnect with old and new friends.  In theory, it’s great…we all use and love it.  But you know who else loves it?  Criminals.  Identity Thieves.  Petty Thieves and worse.

So why is Facebook dangerous?  Quite simply there is a lot of personal information on it which is viewable to an audience who normally wouldn’t have access.  Most criminals can’t do the background work on a crime..it’s a big obstacle to overcome and protects us all.  Facebook knocks down that protective wall and exposes us.  Let’s examine ways to protect yourself other than deleting or wiping your profile clean.

Part 1:  Your ‘Friends’ List:

 

Not my friends!  You can’t take my friends away from me!  Hold on there…are these 500 people really your friends?  When is the last time you talked to any of them?  When is the last time you saw some of them?  Do you know if they have a criminal history?

Step 1 is to scrub that friend list of anyone who you don’t really know.  I think a lot of us have accepted friend requests from someone who knows someone that we know…maybe we met this person once but we don’t know them.  Keep your friends list limited to just that friends.  People you know and trust.

Guidelines to scrubbing the friend list:

1) Have you ever met this person?

2) Have you met them more than once?

3) Do you really consider them a friend?  Would you refer to them as a ‘friend’ in normal conversation or would you say that you simply ‘know who they are’?

4) Do they have a criminal history?

5) Do they have a history of abusing drugs?

What about High School Friends?

Be careful who you accept as a friend from High School.  Just because you had English class with someone 15 years ago does not mean that you know them.  99% chance they are not the same person you remember.  They may be perfectly normal and a model citizen.  Or they could be strung out on drugs or have a history of violence in the past 5 years due to something occurring in their personal life.  You don’t know because you don’t really know them as a friend.

What about exes?  What about friends of ex’s?  I think Chris Rock said it best “if you haven’t contemplated killing someone then you haven’t loved a *$%#”.  Is that person really over you?  Is that persons friend ok with the way you treated your ex or the way they perceive you treated your ex?  See what I am getting at?  Maybe the ex is completely over you but one of their friends never forgave you for cheating on their friend…that would be problematic.

Friends who post a lot

This is a hard one.  We all have them.  The friends who spend their day on Facebook posting about every little thing they do.  These people typically have hundreds of friends and use multiple Facebook applications and they tell you what and where they eat lunch and how mad they are when it rains or it’s too hot.  These friends should scare the crap out of you.

If you and that friend do something…it’s getting posted on their wall.  They go to your bday party…it’s on the wall.  They go to your child’s bday party..it’s on the wall.  They go feed your dog because you are out of town…it’s on their wall.  Their friends may be able to view info about your as well.  Make sure all your privacy settings restrict access to only your friends and not friends of friends.    A friend with an unscrubbed friend list is dangerous to you.  Maybe they like the way you look in your pic?  Maybe they like the way your car or house looks in your pic?

Your Teenaged Kids

This kind of runs together with the person who posts a lot.  Teenaged kids are the worst…Think about what their friend list may look like.  How many of their friends are petty thieves?  Your kid’s friends should not be able to view anything about you..keep them far far away from your profile.  Teenaged kids are very unstable in their relationships and easily influenced.  Not a good combo.  There are infinite possibilities that could occur and most of them are not pleasant.

In Summary

Avoid these types of friends on your Facebook Account:

1)       Remove friends that you don’t really know

2)      Remove friends that are simply acquaintances you’ve met through others

3)      Restrict access to your information including pics to ‘friends only’ and NOT ‘friends of friends’

4)      Remove High School friends who you have not seen, talked to, or plan to talk to ever again

5)      Consider removing friends who over post or ask them to not post information about your life..where you have been, where you live, etc

6)      Remove your teenaged kids

Part 2:  What information should you avoid putting into your Facebook Account?

Bailouts – Changing the Variables of Business

Before the Government goes bailing everyone out, they should consider the guys they don’t have to bailout and the impact it will have on their businesses. 

Note:  forgive this simplistic scenario but you’ll get the overall point.  Let’s say you own a bank and you chose not to give out risky mortgages.  And let’s say you also chose not to buy up other banks risky mortgages.  You also choose not to invest your profits into mortgage bonds because you don’t know which are risky and which aren’t. 

If you were a bank and you chose not to do those three things then you would be called an “idiot” by nearly everyone in the industry between say 2003 – 2007.  Most of the other banks you were competing against were making millions of dollars on loans you refused to make.  But, let’s say you managed to keep your bank open and were still turning a profit, not at the levels of other banks but still a profit.

Now, it’s 2008 and you look pretty smart.  You are still turning a profit while your competitors are hurting and even going out of business which means their customers are coming to your bank.  Great you are set!  Wait, your competitors have hired lobbyist to fly to Washington to try and get the government to help them out.  The government is broke so they say no but your lobbyists are smart.  They start scaring everyone into thinking that if their clients fail then the whole system will fail and everyone (meaning voters) will suffer and blame those in congress.   They also get newspaper columnists to write articles scaring the public into believing this scenario.  Pointing out that “Joe Blah Blah” is at risk of losing his job and his money.

So Congress jumps on board.  Now, the government is pouring money into your competitors even though they made bad business decisions.   Your competitors survive and the bailout makes potential customers and investors more likely to actually throw their money into your competitors instead of your bank.  Guess what?  The Variables just changed and you were penalized for not being an “idiot”. 

You go out of business and your competitors gobble up your bank only to make the same mistake again in 5 years.  The executive boards and managers of those banks avoid any real damage and go on to repeat their mistake once again.  After all, they made millions and when they started to face losses…government bailed them out.  What’s the downside? 

Or take that scenario and say you are an automaker or a builder or an airline.