HOW TO SECURE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT FROM BEING HACKED
Considering this generation of ours, which is largely categorized as “the computer generation”, it is true that almost everyone with an internet connection or mobile device has at least one social media account. Their methods of use may differ from reading the news to sharing their lives, to updating their professional resume. Regardless of usage, social media is a part of the fabric of modern-day life.
We are in a century whereby multitudes of strangers have access to your opinions, comments, political leanings, and family concerns on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and lot more.
Knowing that these platforms are been used by a huge amount of users, it is not unexpected that there are some people that will find it necessary and enjoyable to manipulate your account without your consent
Therefore, it’s important to learn how to protect one’s data and privacy while feeling free enough to learn and share on these platforms. With privacy and security a top priority, enabling best practices for safely using social media will give you peace of mind.
The most popular social media platforms have billions of users, and the number keeps getting bigger every year. The juggernauts of the field—Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to name a few—have gone beyond their initial purpose of sharing, entertainment, and communication. Because of this, enterprises started seeing these platforms as valid advertising tools and users have built careers out of sharing content. Not only that, other applications are using major social media accounts to validate user identity—you can sign up for different apps and games just using your Facebook or Twitter account. And employers now routinely check prospective employees on social media, using it as a type of character check.
Because of the multi-purpose aspect of social media platforms, they become valuable tools that the average person spends approximately 116 minutes on every day, according to a recent study. Because they are such ubiquitous platforms, and being linked to an increasing number of applications on phones and other devices, it becomes even more necessary to secure them.
WHAT CAN HACKERS DO WITH A COMPROMISED ACCOUNT?
Steal personal information: social media accounts can lead to shopping accounts or even have banking information
Gain access to corporate networks: hackers could compromise enterprise networks if your social media is linked to your work email
Duplicate identity: one account can be used to register on another site
Blackmail user: in extreme cases, hackers can use sensitive information to harass the victim
HOW DO YOU NOW SECURE YOUR ACCOUNTS?
The first and the most important way of securing your accounts is to keep your password protected.
If you are worried about remembering complex passwords, there are some security apps such as LastPass which can help keep your complex passwords organized for you. You might be amazed just how many people still keep their passwords listed in plain sight on their office desk using Post-It notes. If you do this, then just about anyone can steal access to your accounts.
Also, be careful about sharing certain information on social media. We have recently seen “cute” polls or threads that encourage you to share something like a memory of the street you grew up on or your first pet. These are often the same as your security questions for your password to be reset. If you share this information online, someone may be able to steal the info and use it to change your password and hack your account.
Another way to protect your account is with two-factor authentication. This requires an extra step in the sign-in process to verify that you are the user. A typical two-factor authentication is to have you log in (first authentication) and then send an access code to your smartphone or your email that you have to enter to continue (second authentication).
Even if a hacker can steal your first level of security – your password – they won’t have access to your text messages to do the second level of security with the security code. This can be added to most social media, including Facebook.
The different social media platforms have security features that you should take advantage of. Here are some tips for keeping your accounts secure:
• Close the accounts that you’re not using. Forgotten social media accounts may be compromised without being noticed. Hackers can leverage these and access other accounts linked to it, like your email.
• Check what apps are connected to your social media. Do you use Facebook or Google to sign in for any other applications? Assess if this type of access is necessary.
• Keep your mobile apps updated. Make sure you have the latest version of the platform you’re using. Security patches protect you from the newest known threats.
• Use a unique email for your social media accounts. If possible, create a whole new email specifically for social media accounts so that if you are compromised, the hackers won’t have access to any valuable information.
SECURING CORPORATE ACCOUNTS
Social media is also used as the public face of enterprises or even entrepreneurs who use it as an advertising tool or an avenue to establish their brand. Hackers sometimes take over a company’s social media to promote their own brand, gain followers, or even spread a specific message. This form of hacktivism is an ongoing problem, especially with Twitter accounts.
Here are some tips to keep corporate social media accounts secure:
• Monitor your social media regularly—keep an eye on what’s happening on all your social media platforms.
• Limit access to only the necessary people—the fewer people with access, the better. This makes it easier to control the posts and avoid any deliberate sabotage.
• Separate what is personal and what is professional—you don’t want to accidentally post something personal on a corporate account.
• Audit which tools have access to your accounts—regulate tools that help with posting since they might be vulnerable to attacks.
• Be aware of the latest security solutions—some platforms might be moving away from passwords soon, or they may be implementing a new security feature that you may want to implement.
• Like all users, practice good password hygiene and also implement strict policies about patching and updating.
PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM FAKE NEWS AND MISINFORMATION
One of the biggest issues facing social media platforms is their role in the distribution of fake news. Some platforms have already started addressing the subject and are working to stop the issue, but there are still a lot of ways to use social media for spreading fake news. Cyberpropaganda has been around for years, but 24/7 social media platforms allowed opportunistic hackers to manipulate public perception quickly and efficiently. Twitter bots push fake stories in campaigns that are big enough to sway public opinion, fake Facebook stories are designed to catch likes and spread news, and popular platforms in other countries deploy similar tactics as well. News is easily created but difficult to verify.
In order to secure your privacy from being manipulated, here are the necessary things to be put in place:
• Don’t click on suspicious messages or links, even if they appear to be posted by someone you know.
• Flag any scam posts or messages you encounter on social media to the website, so they can help stop the threat from spreading.
• Use unique, complicated passwords for all your accounts.
• Avoid posting any identity information or personal details that might allow a hacker to guess your security questions.
• Don’t log in to your social accounts while using public Wi-Fi, since these networks are often unsecured and your information could be stolen.
• Always use comprehensive security software that can keep you protected from the latest threats.
• Keep up-to-date on the latest scams and malware threats