Facing Up to Our Insecurities by Author Annmarie Miles

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The Long & The Short of it by Annmarie Miles

Join me in greeting Annmarie Miles back with us this month for a different type of post – how to fight the insecurities of the internet and protect our social media sites. Enjoy!


I’ve noticed that every so often a post goes around Facebook asking people to change settings to limit what ‘friends of friends’ can see. It’s not a bad idea, but I don’t believe we should leave the security of our Facebook info in the hands of other people. Like most areas of life, we cannot control what other people do, but we can control what we do.

It’s time to take internet security into our own hands, and start to inbox a bit cleverer. (See what I did there…)

In case you don’t know what SPAM is – it’s basically electronic junk mail; and we all know how annoying that can be. On the internet it can also cause havoc to our computer systems and in worse case scenarios allow access to private information.

Spammers will try anything and everything to get you to click that link. They come at you from the 18+ angle, the ‘OMG have you seen this?’ angle, the ‘you’ve won $100 million’ angle, the ‘I’m lost in outer Mongolia with only tu’pence to my name’ angle, and lately the subtle ‘Click this link’ angle, that is practically screaming “I AM SPAM” from the screen, but still manages to get some traffic.

They are in our Twitter feeds, our email inboxes, our blog comments and on our Facebook pages. In fact I’ve a friend who has had 3 false FB accounts set up with his info and his pic. The new dummy account sends out friend requests and once we accept, no doubt they start trying to get into our info.

They will not stop. For every virus definition update, there’s another version of it already out there looking for trouble. Norton, McAfee, Windows Defender, and many other excellent programmes are amazing, and we’d all be in system meltdown and pop-up hell without them. But just as effective against the spread of SPAM and the influence of hackers, is our own vigilance.



Don’t click on a link in an email, even if your best friend sent it. Unless you are expecting a youtube clip of a friend wearing a sari and a fireman’s helmet, always ask the sender if they had really sent it. It’s a few minutes wait that will save a whole lot of pain. If you’re going to send a link, let your friends know.


Never click a link in a Twitter message. Just delete it and send a quick tweet to the person who sent it. Chances are they’ve been hacked and need to change their password. If it was ok, they can always send it again.

Watch out for links in general tweets. Unless I know the tweeter well, I wouldn’t ever click. Even if I do know them well, I’d see if anyone had responded to the tweet to say there’s a problem.

Spammers are clever, but they don’t know your friends – you do!

If you see a post that says, “I did the sky dive. yeay me!”, I suggest you take a minute to think… “Was [insert friend’s name here] planning a sky dive? And would they really say ‘yeay me’?”

Don’t just delete stuff – mark as SPAM if there is an option to, and always let the sender know. Most people are unaware they’ve been hacked as they don’t receive any messages themselves.

For all its faults and constant changes, Facebook does have excellent and very versatile security options. Go into the settings and take a look around. You’ll be surprised at how many options you have to restrict what folks can see.


SPAM comments on blogs used to be very obvious, but they can be more generic comments now; complimenting the style and content of your blogpost without referring to the subject in any way. Make sure to mark these as SPAM, don’t just delete.

A recent (and favourite) epic fail SPAM comment on my blog reads…

“When someone writes an post he/she maintains the plan of a user in his/her mind that how a user can be aware of it. So that’s why this post is amazing. Thanks!”

Eh… you’re welcome…?

Folks think of this as a cold virus. You don’t want to get it, or give to anyone if you already have it. The germs are flying around, but unless you live in a bubble, you can’t avoid others; you have to interact with people.

The same goes for the internet. Unless we plug out completely and forever, we’re always going to be susceptible to the virus. Best we can do is make sure our hands our clean!




Author, Annmarie Miles

Annmarie Miles, part time writer, full time believer is 40something, Irish, Christian, married, and proud to be all of those things. She loves words, music & chocolate! You can find out all about her and her book “The Long & The Short of It” at the new website: www.annmariemiles.com.
Where to find Annmarie:
Email: amowriting@gmail.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/amowriting
Google+: auntyamo
Twitter: @amowriting
Personal Blog: www.auntyamo.com
Writing Blog: www.annmariemiles.com/blog

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