Thursday, January 27, 2022
ColumnsCyber Talk: Making social media secure for women

Cyber Talk: Making social media secure for women

Published: 27th Dec 2021 11:40 pm

Hyderabad: Social media is a very powerful means of freedom of speech and expression. It has become a voice for the voiceless and has been an incredible tool for empowering women to speak, express and promote their ideas that benefit the larger society. At the same time, it’s a place for sexist, racist, homophobic, and other violent behaviours, and this content is easily expressed, and it affects women adversely.

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Many of us treat our social media accounts as purely a social vent, casually updating statuses and posting photos online on social platforms with little expectation of how friends and followers feel about our social vent. Your online actions could seriously limit your educational, personal, or professional prospects in the future.

To be successful on social media and celebrate positive stories, we must have access to digital safety, security, and privacy tools and material, otherwise, anonymous online perpetrators will exploit women and girls anywhere, regardless of their location.

Under the pretext of freedom of expression, many social networking sites have been allowing users to host rape videos and revenge porn videos, making female users feel unsafe. It is important that women raise their voices against such actions. Some of the popular hashtags for women’s rights are, #MeToo, #TimesUp, #NiUnaMenos, #HeForShe, #OrangeTheWorld, #BringBackOurGirls, #EverydaySexism, #WomenShould, #YesAllWomen, #WhyIStayed, #IWillGoOut and #GenerationEquality

Online safety tips
* Take steps to browse safely and maintain anonymity
* Set privacy parameters for all applications
* Check to see how much of your personal information is available online
* Be mindful of what you share online
* Use safety tools while gaming
* Never share passwords
* Never leave your webcam plugged in
* Never meet online acquaintances alone
* Block people you don’t want to interact with
* Only click on short links if they are verified
* Secure your devices with anti-virus and anti-malware software
* Apps should only be downloaded from the Google Play or Apple App Store
* Never access public wifi unless and until you are sure that it’s a secured network

Set your privacy on social media:
* Understand the Privacy Terms & Settings
* Enter your biographical information with care
* Turn off your location
* Be careful about posting photos online
* Avoid using public or shared devices to access your social media
* Avoid clicking on social media links, even if they were sent by your friends
* Avoid unidentified contacts and carefully select your connection

Social media safety tips
* Block cookies and configure privacy settings for your social media platforms to control information sharing
* When accessing websites, only use HTTPS:// (Padlock Symbol)
* Protect your online identity
* Use a complex password with a capital letter and special characters. Also, set up Two-Step Verification for all logins (2FA) * Don’t leak your location while viewing or uploading images
* To avoid malicious attacks, enlarge short links
* End-to-end encryption messengers should be used
* Never share sensitive information on social media platforms (Financial, Login Credentials, Organization and Personal Information) as your identity could be compromised
* Only connect with people that you know and trust in real life. If required, you may lock your profiles
* Consent should be treated the same way for all offline and online interactions

A few open-source and free to use tools for women’s safety: –
* Examine How Apps Access Your Data – https://reports.exodus-privacy.eu.org/en/
* Install the Light Beam Browser Plugin (How Companies Share Data) – https://myshadow.org/resources/lightbeam?locale=en
* Check for data breaches involving your email address – https://amibeingpwned.com * Visit https://namechk.com/ to quickly check the availability of a name or brand
* Image Fact-Checking (Reverse Image Check) – www.tineye.com
* For Image Verification (Date/Camera/Location, etc., where it was taken), go to http://exifdata.com/.
* Un Shorten the urls – http://www.unshorten.it/
* Use https://isitphishing.org/ to see if the website is engaged in phishing activity
* Examine the Entire Email Header – https://mxtoolbox.com/EmailHeaders.aspx
* Visit Domain Tools – http://whois.domaintools.com/.
* Look at the target website’s previous version — https://archive.org/ Cybercrime reporting

There is gender-based abuse on the internet, in the form of sexual harassment, trolling, messages threatening rape and murder, or leaking private pictures and videos without consent, and it has become rampant nowadays.

If you have experienced any cybercrime, kindly log on to the national cybercrime portal https://www.cybercrime.gov.in/ and file a complaint. For a quick response, you may reach 155260 (National Toll-Free Number). Make sure you make digital safety one of your top priorities for 2022 and stay one step ahead of cybercrime with all the tips listed in this article.

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