We often hear about social media accounts being hacked. The last thing any of us wants is a random person getting into our personal life on social media. From messenger interactions to the way we interact with our friends – it’s all evidenced when we log into our account.
Being hacked not only leaves you and your personal information vulnerable, it also puts the information of your connections at risk as well. The people who access your information can do close to anything with it once they’re in, including selling it on the black market or using it to steal your identity.
Protecting your social media accounts is crucial and here are some easy-to-implement tips on how to do that. This serves to protect both your information and that of your contacts.
1. Be smart with your passwords
Keeping your passwords safe is vital. That means not sharing your passwords. This might sound obvious, yet you’d be surprised at how many people share their personal information. Do not under any circumstances share the passwords to your social media accounts via text, messenger or even email. Discretion is key.
The same goes for writing them down. If you’ve ever lost anything in your life, you know that lost things have a habit of turning up in the strangest of places. We can often misplace our keys, our handbags/wallets and even our phones. It’s so easy to put something down and forget to pick it back up. So do not write your social media passwords (or hints to the password) anywhere in case someone else finds it.
Changing your passwords regularly can also help keep your accounts secure. Most social media profiles don’t have a regular prompt requesting that you change your passwords, so do it as a matter of due course every 90 days at least. If you worry there may have been a breach of your own security, change all your passwords instantly.
It can also be a good idea to make each password different. It may be easier to remember one password rather than many but if your account is compromised, the hacker will probably try to the same password for all your digital accounts.
If all this seems a bit hard, you can download software that stores your passwords securely. There are various software programs out there that do this, which means that all you need to do is remember one password and the software will store the passwords for all your profiles within it. Make sure you do the research to find one that works for you.
2. Are your friends really your friends?
Some people love having thousands of friends and connections online, but are your friends on your social media really your friends? Be discerning about the people you accept as friends and contacts online. If you don’t know them, have a look at the connections and friends you have in common and ask yourself why they might be sending you a friend request. If it feels untoward or suspicious, ignore the request.
3. Be mindful of just how much you’re sharing online
Be careful about what you’re sharing online, especially when it comes to personal information such as your date of birth, home address and bank account or credit card details.
You may also want to think twice before posting your physical locations or even your purchases. Opportunists are everywhere. There are people out there who may follow you and when you post about being on holiday, perhaps a friend or a family member may ask how long you’re going to be away. If you then post that information and someone knows where you live, or can find out, that can put you at risk.
4. Don’t use the “sign in with Facebook” when signing into new services
If someone happens to get your Facebook password, they can then access any website where you have utilised the “Use Facebook to sign in” feature. It can also make it a bit harder to regain access to any of these services if something goes awry with your password. Keep everything separate and the passwords different to ensure maximum security.
5. Delete old accounts
If you decide that you’re going to no longer use an account, consider deleting it, especially if you have included any personal information. Before you delete them, it can be a good idea to provide a current email address that you have access to. This way, if you someone tries to reactivate or login to a closed or old account, you’ll receive an email notifying you.
About Nicola Moras
Nicola Moras is an online visibility expert and author of VISIBLE a guide for business owners on how to generate financial results from social media and digital marketing.
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