10 years ago, many of us were hearing about social media for the first time. Now, social media plays a giant role in our lives, allowing us to share pictures, connect with family and friends, and get updated news. Through social media, we can express ourselves to our inner circle and the world.
So how devastating would it be if someone got a hold of your social media accounts?
They could really wreak some havoc, like sending dirty links to all of your followers on Twitter. Or worse, take personal information in order to steal your identity, which could take years to fix. Sadly, breaking into your social media account can be easy—just one wrong click on a phishing scam or using a weak password that is easy to guess
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to protect your social media accounts from hackers. Here are my tips:
- Discard unused applications. Take inventory of your social media accounts to see if there are any third-party applications that have access to your personal social data. Delete the ones you don’t use or don’t need. And make sure you are ok with what information they are accessing from your social profile/account as these can be gateways to your account for hackers.
- Be careful who you friend online. Only accept friend requests from people you know in real life. Often hackers will send requests so they can see the information you are sharing to help them take advantage of
- Sharing is not always caring. Double check your privacy settings to control who sees your posts. Also, be careful what you share online—think of what you post online as being there forever, even if you have privacy setting enabled. For example, sharing that you’re away on vacation could inform a thief that you’re not home and indicate to them it’s a good time to rob you.
- Use strong passwords. Using “password” as a password isn’t going to cut it. The strongest passwords are at least eight characters in length, preferably 12; contain a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers, and are unique to each account. For more information on how to create strong passwords, go to passwordday.org. And don’t forget to join us to celebrate World Password Day on May 7th. If you have trouble remembering and keeping track of all your user names and passwords, a safe option is to use a password manager. I like, which allows you to log into sites and apps using multiple factors that are unique to you, like your face and fingerprints and the devices you own.
- Multi-factor authentication. Imagine a hacker has your password, username and email and even knows the answer to your secret question. He can get into your account. But if you’ve enabled multi-factor authentication, the hacker will need another factor to truly access your account. So without your phone, fingerprint, face or whatever factor you’ve set up, the game’s over for him. With True Key, you have to keep you safe online.
- Use security software. Of course, keep all your devices updated with comprehensive security software like McAfee LiveSafe™ service.
Robert Siciliano is an Online Safety Expert to Intel Security. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.