Simple Tips To Keep Your Social Media Accounts Secure
Social media accounts can be powerful tools if they fall into the wrong hands. Hackers have recently taken over the Twitter accounts of big corporations and celebrities and used them for basic spamming as well as bringing attention to their own personal justice crusades. You might think that your accounts with a handful of followers won’t tempt the hackers and scammers, but your information is still a very valuable commodity which should be protected.
Recommendations To Make Social Media Accounts More Secure
Set unique passwords for each social network
It sounds obvious and rather basic but it’s a common mistake that allows hackers easy access to your information; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etcetera should all have different passwords to prevent hackers from locking you out completely. Never be lazy and simply change the digit at the end of the same stem password either; choose a totally different, random password that includes symbols, letters and numbers. Make it as difficult as you can for a would-be hacker to work out and avoid obvious things like birth dates, pets’ names and the like.
Mind your mailbox
So, how do these hackers get into your social account in the first place? Through direct mail messages, that’s how. It may be an old-fashioned approach that’s been employed by phishers for years, but it works. A rogue link is embedded in an email or message which is made to appear as though it’s from a friend or colleague and that link exposes your password. Hackers find out who you’d expecting mail from and twist this to give them a way into your confidence and thus to your account. This relatively basic and unsophisticated approach has served phishers well, gaining them access to major newspapers and even government organisations, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that high-tech strategies are required to gate-crash your social network accounts.
Don’t get too personal
Attackers will use every scrap of personal information they can glean from your pubic profiles; this information could include your education, interests and hobbies, date of birth, pet, etcetera. Now think about on-line services that you use; banking, credit cards, mobile phone accounts and the like and the security questions that they ask. How easy would it be for someone to hack into your bank account if they knew your regular password and the name of the school you attended, or your first pet?
The best strategy is to keep as much of your personal profile private and resist the temptation to post every single thing about you and your private life on social media pages.
Lock your phone
The internet is not the only place where you’re vulnerable to attack. Imagine the damage that could be done if your mobile phone landed up in the hands of scammers. Once someone has gained access to your phone, they can obtain your email address, use your friends as bait and even change your password so that you’re effectively locked out of your accounts.
Make life as difficult as possible for would-be scammers by always enabling the passcode lock on your phone, remembering to set it to time out after a few minutes; no longer.
Use the block button
If you think a scammer is following you and sends you a link; don’t just ignore it. Others may not be as security savvy as you are so you should always report the account as spam to your social networking service. They’ll monitor it and remove the account if enough people complain. Obviously this won’t stop the scammers opening new accounts, but it will make life difficult for them and prevent them from having such an easy ride.
Web safety software
There are lots of free apps out there for you to download. Norton Safe Web for Facebook for example scans newsfeeds for scams or malicious links. The app then warns you of possible threats so that you don’t inadvertently share them with your followers and friends. It’s well worth the few minutes it takes to get set up with one of these; and they’re free.
Much of this advice sounds like common sense but it’s amazing how many people are complacent about their online security, until a scammer targets them. Don’t become a victim; protect yourself and stay safe out there!