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As the popularity of a site increases, so does the risk to users as criminals are quick to exploit any new technology or trend. Sites like Facebook, MySpace and Linkedln are particularly attractive to cyber criminals who use a variety of social hacking techniques and malicious software to capitalize on the unsuspecting user.

The next time you sign in to stay in touch, please consider these security tips:

1.Information posted on the Internet never really goes away – Think twice before you post those crazy college photos! They are likely to remain on the Internet indefinitely – even if you “delete” them – in cached copies of pages, copies saved on other people’s sites, etc

2.Passwords, passwords, passwords – Use a strong password that contains a combination of numbers, special characters, and capital / lower case letters. Consider using a password that is different from ones you use on sites that contain particularly sensitive information, such as online banking sites.

3.Add-ons add risk-Plugin’s such as “smiley faces” are popular add-ons by teens and young adults. While they add a personal touch, they are a common means for cyber criminals to install malicious software on your computer. In short, limit add-ons to limit your risk.

4.Anti-Virus is critical – Pictures, files, and links on these sites are increasingly becoming infected with viruses, malware, spyware, key loggers, etc. Keeping your anti-virus up-to-date is a critical line of defense.

5.Understand the security and privacy policies – Don’t rely on default settings. Restrict access to the information you share to only those you personally grant access. Also, review a site’s privacy policy to understand who “owns” the data posted to these sites.

6.Exercise caution – Just as you have learned to be cautious while surfing the Web or opening attachments contained in email, you should be equally cautious when engaging with people on social networking sites. Verify the identity of “friends” before granting them access to your personal information.

7.What you share can be used against you – Seemingly harmless information such as your pet’s name, your high-school mascot, your birthday, etc., are oftentimes answers to challenge questions used to reset your password on a secure Web site. Be wary of surveys that often ask for this type of information.

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dominica twitter page

Dominica continues to incorporate the newest and most popular social media tools into the strategic promotion of its tourism product, most recently with the establishment of a Twitter account for tourism.

Found under the username “Nature_Island,” the account is a means of providing media, travel agents, tour operators and potential travelers with continued news and information about Dominica.

The Discover Dominica Authority’s official Twitter account is regularly updated with news, information, images and articles about the destination. Accessible to Internet users globally, it features various island images (via Twitpic) and a link to the island’s official tourism website, www.discoverdominica.com. As Twitter is considered to be a form of social media, anyone can sign up to “follow” Dominica and thereby reply directly to posts, “re-tweet” posts, tag posts as “favorites” or reference the news and information provided for their own use.

“Twitter continues to grow as one of the most frequent networks and is becoming extremely popular with consumers as well as journalists as a primary source of information for news in today’s world.” Comments Colin Piper, Director of Tourism at Discover Dominica Authority. “It is incumbent on us as marketers to understand the growing impact of these social media tools & to employ them to our advantage.”

Created in 2006, Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as “tweets.” Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user’s profile/blog, searchable on Twitter search, and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (called “followers”). Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, SMS or various external applications. Estimates of the number of Twitter users vary, as the company does not release its number of active accounts, but generally range between 800,000 and several million. In March 2009, a Nielsen.com blog ranked Twitter as the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for February 2009 with a growth of 1,382%.

Visit www.twitter.com and sign up to follow Dominica at www.twitter.com/Nature_Island.

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