Did you know that January 28th was Data Privacy Day? If you happened to miss out on that glorious day, then now’s your chance to honor your online privacy and learn how to protect your LinkedIn account. Better late than never, folks.
In honor of Data Privacy Day, LinkedIn published a comprehensive guide on its blog that outlined five ways for users to protect their online profiles from data pirates … or for users to have more anonymity when stalking other LinkedIn users. Why is privacy so important for LinkedIn users? For starters, one’s online presence plays a great deal in how employers (current or prospective), clients, and other professionals perceive him or her in the real world.
To get you started on your way to social media privacy, let’s start with what is probably the most important page of your professional career – your LinkedIn profile. Here are five ways to protect your profile so that you don’t fall victim to an untimely hack that costs you the big break you’ve been waiting for in your career.
1. Know how you’re sharing information online. LinkedIn suggests to review your current privacy settings, here, to verify that you’re using the site in a capacity that suits your discretionary needs. For example, if you do not want certain activity displayed to your networks, such as when you follow a user or company, then LinkedIn suggest that you turn off activity broadcasts. Controlling the information that you share with others inside and outside of your network on LinkedIn can help you remain anonymous when you want, and also help control what others see of your profile.
2. Protect your account access with Two-Step Verification. Another way to safeguard your LinkedIn profile is to active two-step verification because it’s “a much stronger form of account protection that can greatly reduce identity theft and unauthorized access to sensitive information,” according to the network’s blog. In addition to your password, LinkedIn will require a numeric code to be entered that is sent to your phone when a new device is detected upon login to your profile. Learn more about this security feature, take a look at LinkedIn’s presentation on two-step verification.
3. Use Secure Browsing (HTTPS) to safeguard your internet activity. If that sounds like a foreign language to you, then have no fear – layman’s terms are on their way. LinkedIn indicates that it “automatically secures a connection” when users are on pages that require sensitive information (e.g. credit card), but not all pages within the site are created equal… or as secure. Therefore, the site offers a security option that allows users to turn on secure browsing, or “protected connection when viewing all pages across LinkedIn.”
4. Change your password frequently. LinkedIn provides a list of noteworthy things to consider when it comes to protecting your account from being jeopardized here are a few from the list:
Change your password every few months.
Don’t use the same password on all sites.
Randomly add capital letters, punctuation or symbols.
To view the entire list of recommendations, see the full post on LinkedIn’s blog, here.
5. Beware of phishing or spam emails, and never give out personal information. As a friendly reminder, “LinkedIn will never ask for your sensitive personal or financial information via email,” and that’s straight from the horse’s mouth. There are a few ways to verify whether or not the email sender is LinkedIn or spam, and the most important thing to remember is that, “All valid LinkedIn messages will contain a security footer,” which LinkedIn explains here. If the suspicious email asks you to open attachments, download software, or click on links that will take you to an external site, then chances are it’s not from LinkedIn. Also beware of spelling or grammatical errors, as well as statements that insist that your account will be terminated unless you act immediately, because those are dead giveaways that the email is illegitimate.
For more information on how to safeguard your LinkedIn profile and information, check out the Safety Center for additional help.
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Leah Arnold-Smeets, owner of Emiko Consulting, is passionate about helping entrepreneurs capitalize on their strengths, improve on their weaknesses, and reach their full potential. Leah obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Southern California (USC).