The security of your social media has become vital as more information is being shared and stored online. While you may have a limited number of followers or rarely use your account, hackers could still see some value in your information that you do not.
From real-time newscasting to staying in touch with loved ones on the other side of the globe, social media offers an unbelievable amount of access to information. Unfortunately, while there are many positives to this level of transparency, it does leave openings for hackers to take advantage of.
Common Social Media Security Threats
There are several ways that social media accounts are made vulnerable to attack and misuse. Understanding common threats is the first step to preventing problems before they arise.
- Phishing and Scams: Like attacks via email, these methods are incredibly effective on social media. Since most social media platforms frequently feature links, it’s easy for a hacker to develop a malicious link that looks like information relevant to the consumer.
- Unlocked Mobile Devices: The convenience of social media apps allows users to just tap the icon and have immediate access to those accounts. However, an unsecured device that falls into the wrong hands means instant access to all your social media contacts.
- Third Party Applications: Apps that partner with your social media accounts can leave security gaps that provide access for hackers. Be wary of any app that integrates into any of your social media accounts.
- Hacking: In some cases, hackers will completely take over a social media account, making posts and comments pretending to be the user. If a hacker can gain access to your social media account, then they can access a terrifying amount of information.
Feeling More Secure on Social Media
Eliminating social media accounts has become close to impossible, as it is a major method of communication for individuals and businesses alike. It is possible, however, to take steps to ensure the safety and security of your social media accounts. Here are five tips outlining how to keep your social media accounts safe.
- Monitor Your Accounts Regularly
Most social media users are frequently active on their accounts; however, users should be mindful of anything unusual. Review recent posts and activity to evaluate if any strange behavior becomes apparent. If anything unusual appears, notify the customer support of the platform immediately.
- Keep an Eye on Your Email
Hackers often use email phishing attempts to gain access to social media accounts. Malicious links are prevalent and once opened, give hackers all the room they need to operate in your system. If you see a link that looks unusual or is unexpected, consider deleting it.
Pay attention to any alerts from social media platforms that appear in your email. If you receive notification that your password has been changed and you did not change it, you should evaluate your account immediately.
- Use Different Passwords
A tip as old as the internet is to use a different password for each account. This is especially pertinent for social media accounts. If a hacker gains access to one account and you use the same password for all your accounts, then the rest of them become vulnerable to attack. Creating unique passwords for each of your social media accounts is worth the effort of remembering them.
- Use Advanced Security Measures
A large volume of social media posts and interactions originate from public spaces like airports, coffee shops, or schools. If you are on a public Wi-Fi network, you can assume that the network is vulnerable to hackers. While eliminating the use of these networks is the safest bet, some need to use public Wi-Fi for a variety of reasons.
Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can protect your mobile device or computer from being accessed on one of these networks. A VPN encrypts information sent and received, enabling you to avoid your passwords and other information being stolen. Remember that using a VPN is not only relevant on the desktop as plenty of sensitive information is transferred through your Android tablet or smartphone, iPhone or iPad, too.
- Keep it Vague
The need to fit in often has people sharing far too much information on their social media accounts. The more details posted, the easier it is for someone to narrow down who you are and where you live. Other information, like the name of your first pet or the elementary school you went to, can inadvertently provide answers to popular security questions.
Social media is here to stay, yet it is becoming increasingly more challenging to protect your privacy. Follow the tips above to ensure you are doing everything you can to secure your social media accounts.