Gerald Altmann

Can users help in securing the safety of their data on social media?

(Image by Gerald Altmann/Pixabay)

Trend Micro recently ran a survey on Twitter asking people how they feel about their data on social media. The results are almost split because people have different interpretations of what is data privacy.

Asking the question, “Are you worried about the safety of your data when using social media?” 35 percent said “No” while 32 percent answered “Yes” and 33 percent replied with “Sometimes.”

In its blog post, Trend Micro tried to qualify the definition of “safety.” Some people see safety as being in control of how can access their data, while for others it could mean data availability. There are some people who want to know if they could get their data back once it had been shared on social networking sites.

CIA

Trend Micro uses a “formal name for the concepts of information security,” which is CIA or confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

The security company considers confidentiality as the most important among the three attributes because “not having control over who can access your data makes social networks significantly less valuable.”

Social media platforms offer different ways of controlling people’s post. In essence, the user has the control over what to share and to whom he or she wants to share them, which Trend Micro says is what could contribute to peace of mind.

Integrity is how much users have manipulated the data shared such as photos. “When your data changes without your permission or awareness, it could lead to unintended consequences,” says Trend Micro.

Availability is simply knowing that users can access their data whenever they need it.

Trend Micro writes: “The larger question of whether you can get your data back in its original format is much trickier. It’s a rare case that the social networks will let you export your complete information. It usually runs counter to their business model.”

Confidentiality

Trend Micro does not discount the importance of integrity and availability but suggests that users need to focus on confidentiality. They can make use of privacy controls that social networks offer and visit the privacy settings regularly as these may change from time to time.

Social media, when used properly, is a powerful tool not only for sharing information but also for influencing decisions. A single post can sway a negative opinion to positive. Knowing how to control data privacy is also one way of becoming a responsible social media user.

“Regardless of how you define ‘safe,’ it’s important to be aware of the network you’re sharing on, how to use the control settings on that network, and have a clear understanding of what information you’re comfortable sharing,” says Trend Micro.

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