How to Keep You & Your Information Secure
Did you know that nearly two-thirds of adults with personal social media accounts say they have been a victim of hacking at one time or another? That means that over 66 percent of adults have had their accounts hacked. If you are in charge of social media for your company or brand, there are a few simple steps you can take that will help prevent your data from getting into the wrong hands — i.e. hackers.
Be Sure to Create a Foolproof Password
You’ve heard this tip before, but it simply cannot be stressed enough. You’d be amazed to hear that over 10 percent of people use completely insecure passwords for their social media accounts (not to mention all other websites requiring a password). These are predictable passwords like “123456” or “password1.” How do we know this? Well, hackers all over the net have posted over 5 million leaked passwords that have been used over and over again. The hackers create lists of passwords that give them access to people’s accounts and sell the lists online for fellow hackers to use.
As you can see, using the same password for every site is essentially asking to be hacked. This is why it is so crucial to not only change your passwords for each platform but to also use unique passwords that cannot be predicted by hackers. Data shows that longer, more complex, and varied passwords are the ones that work the best. Alternating between using uppercase and lowercase, along with numbers and symbols, is the best way to make sure your accounts are under lock and key. In addition, don’t substitute numbers, letters, and uppercase characters in a predictable fashion. It’s recommended that you use acronyms in place of phrases or combinations of words that aren’t usually used together.
For example, an acronym would be “don’t make a predictable password” or “dmapp” (don’t use that password of course — this is just an example). You can also use combinations of your favorite things or words that don’t usually string together. For example, “tea” “green” “clouds” “music,” or “tEagReeNclOuDsmuSic” — that’s how you can create an unpredictable phrase and random capitalization.
If you’re worried about not being able to keep up with all of the individual passwords that you have set, luckily there are password trackers that will do all of the hard work for you. All you have to do is download an extension for your browser and set it to remember all passwords that you create/enter. Most tools like this will also remind you to update your passwords every 30, 60, or 90 days, depending on your preference. Changing passwords often is another great way to keep them unpredictable.
Don’t Give Away Too Much Personal Info Via Social Media
Not only is this a good idea just to keep you safe personally, it’s a smart way to stop hackers from guessing your passwords. Using personal information all over your social media profile is an easy way to hand over possible passwords to potential hackers. This means things like birth dates, names, pets’ names, etc. shouldn’t be posted publicly for everyone to see.
This brings up another great point: make sure that you go into your privacy settings on every social media account. Your private information shouldn’t be listed out in the open for anyone who stumbles across your profile to find. Make sure that you select privacy options that only allow the people you want to see things like phone numbers, locations, names, and more. What’s more, if you have location settings turned on, certain social media apps will post the exact address of where you are when you write a new status. If you don’t have privacy settings enabled when you post something new, anyone can check out your profile, gather information about you, and also know where you live and frequently visit. Scary, isn’t it?
To keep yourself as safe as possible, it’s incredibly important that you comb through your social media profiles and see what kind of information you’re giving out publicly. It’s OK to allow check-ins that show your location, but you should have the peace of mind of at least knowing who’s able to see it. These days, due to an influx of hacking issues on social media, most platforms have many options at your disposal in order to keep your information safe. Make sure that you take a close look at all safety options built into the social media sites you have accounts on; they’re there to keep your information secure, after all.
Check what information is listed under your “about me” sections to make sure no one can guess your passwords, and be careful what other profiles you’re linking to and from all of your accounts. For example, if you have a public Twitter account that has limited information about you, but then you link to your blog that contains a lot of personal information, that’s just as bad as having it listed right on your profile. It’s OK to share that kind of thing with your followers, as long as you know who’s looking at it. Make sure that it’s secure.
Considering that over 60 percent of all adults have been hacked, there’s no better time to start protecting your social media accounts than right now. There’s no excuse to keep your data unsecured any longer. You have complete control over what the world sees and has access to. Of course, there are instances that occur which no one has control over. However, a vast majority of hacking attempts stem from an individual phishing for information, finding it right on your profile, or figuring out a predictable password. These are all scenarios that you have power over, and by following these steps, you can keep yourself protected from social media hacking.