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All of us we know the internet can be an obnoxious place, and the sharing culture of social media often runs counter to security and privacy best practices. Most of us have at some point shared our birthdays, photos of our loved ones, information about where we live and come from, and other content that perhaps shouldn’t be made public online.

In a worst case scenario, information you share online could be taken advantage of to pose a threat to your security or even physical safety. The fundamentals of securing your online presence are much the same regardless of what online services you use.

In a worst case scenario, information you share online could be taken advantage of to pose a threat to your security or even physical safety. The fundamentals of securing your online presence are much the same regardless of what online services you use.

In general you should ensure that mutual friends/followers with access to restricted accounts are people you trust. Search your post history for personal information that could be used for identity theft, to access your accounts, or to locate your physical address. If necessary, take measures to remove them en mass. Plus you can check for photos of you that others have shared on tagged, removing any tags if they are unneeded.

When it comes to protecting your physical address, this can be exposed in a number of ways. If you’re an eBay seller and have shared links via personal accounts, note that your address is generally published alongside your auctions. The same may apply to other business listings, such as records at Companies House, as well as some academic listings.

If you’re being actively threatened, it’s best to immediately restrict access, set private or, if necessary, suspend, delete, or unpublish your accounts. While doing so you should screenshot and report any threats that have been sent to you, before blocking those who are responsible.

Other steps you can take are: disabling automatic location sharing, enabling two-factor authentication to protect your accounts, back up and delete old posts wherever possible, and consider closing non-essential social media accounts that you don’t use anymore and particularly those associated with your real name and identity.

Now for some specifics.

LinkedIn

By its very nature, your LinkedIn CV – or any other online CV you may have – can reveal a huge amount of information about where you work, where you live and how to get in touch with yourself or your employer.

It’s a very good idea to remove any unnecessary email addresses or phone numbers, particularly those you primarily use for personal matters, and use LinkedIn’s Privacy Settings to set your profile private, choose whether or not people outside your contact network can see your name, remove any linked social media accounts and change your geographic location data. It’s also a good idea to set information such as your date of birth visible to Only Me using the edit (pencil icon) option on your main profile.

You can also close or temporarily deactivate your account. Once you’ve locked down a few basic security settings, such as restricting who can see your email address, the main thing to check is what personal information your CV might reveal.

LinkedIn is trying muscle into more conventional social networking territory. If you’ve used this and wish to delete your posts, go to Me > Posts & Activity to see your entire activity feed. Unfortunately, you’ll have to delete posts one at a time, as there are no mass deletion options here.

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