Be careful who you friend or follow: Before you add someone as a Facebook friend, or follow them on Twitter or Google+, ask yourself whether you really know the person. Cybercriminals often set up fake profiles just to spread spam and malicious links.
Watch for phishing attempts, scams, and hoaxes: If something sounds fishy or too good to be true, it probably is. Two widespread Facebook scams, for instance, promote links or apps that claim to tell you who has viewed your profile, or that promise to change your Facebook profile layout or themeeven though neither capability exists. Think before you click on these types of links or apps, as they could steal your information, hijack your account, send spam to your friends, or cause other damage. To learn more about social network security and to discover scams as they develop, follow sites such as Facecrooks or PCWorlds own security topic page.
Check app permissions: If youre thinking of giving a Facebook app permission to access your profile information, first check out the types of information it wants. If you think a particular app should not be able to access certain details, dont allow it. Also, periodically check the apps youve authorized to see if any of them look suspicious.
Twitter lets apps access account information, too. Be sure to review which apps and services can access your profile. If you no longer want to use a particular app or service, you can disable it from this page.
Use apps to help detect malicious activity: A number of apps can tell you if your social network accounts are vulnerable to attack, or if youre sharing too much personal data. For starters, they can filter and moderate your feeds and comments for malicious or inappropriate content, and detect fake profiles set up to flood your feeds with spam.
Two good antiscam apps are Bitdefender Safego for Facebook or Twitter and MyPageKeeper for Facebook, both of which monitor your profile's feeds and comments and alert you and other users to any malicious links they encounter. For more details on how each utility works, see go.pcworld.com/socialmediasecurity. And if you operate your own Facebook Fan Page or blog, consider using a service such as Websense Defensio, which filters comments for spam messages, malicious content, and profanity.