How To Stay One Step Ahead In Securing Your Social Accounts

Bill Hess / security, Social Media Leave a Comment

Social media networks have billions of users globally and that number is still rising every single day. I’m talking about the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, YouTube, Tumblr, QQ – the list goes on and on.

These social media networks go far above and beyond the scope of sharing photos and videos alone. For many businesses and individuals, it has grown to become a valuable source of income.

Furthermore, the majority of social media accounts are linked to businesses, other people, applications, and phones, which means that the “reward” for hackers gets increasingly more lucrative once they gain access to an account.

Therefore, it’s important to secure your account and be one step ahead of hackers. Follow these tips to secure your account:

1. Use strong and unique passwords

It’s important to use a strong and unique password for every single social media account that you own. You would be surprised at the simplicity of passwords people use for their account. Even Mark Zuckerberg, according to NBC News, used “dadada” as password for his Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest account.

Obviously, it’s pretty much impossible to remember a truly strong password for every account, however, LastPass is a great tool to store account details in a secure environment. You can also use LastPass’ password generator to create a proper password!

2. Enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is a great second layer of protection, simply because it requires two separate logins to access your account. In order to log into your account, you’ll need to verify it with a code sent to your smartphone or through an application.

It will be close to impossible for a hacker to get access to your account. Only physical access to your device(s) to generate the second code would allow access, which is highly unlikely.

3. Install antivirus & anti-malware software

Hackers could also access your social media account from the inside, which means that they’ll access your account by infecting your device and entering your account through a hacked device. In case you don’t have any extra security measures in place, it would be kid’s play to get access to your account.

Thus, it’s essential to install proper antivirus such as Kaspersky or Bitdefender to protect your device from malicious threats. In addition, run anti-malware software alongside the antivirus software for extra protection.

4. Delete inactive accounts

Inactive accounts are often “forgotten” accounts. But that doesn’t mean you should lose sight of these accounts. Simply put, your account can still be abused for fraudulent activities, even though you’re not actively using it anymore. It’s best to get rid of accounts completely if you’re not using it any longer.

5. 3rd party software applications

When you install third-party applications to run on your social media account, you’ll have to grant the software access in order to be able to activate the features of the application. However, this is a perfect opportunity for hackers to access your account, if they infect third-party software with malicious scripts that actually take control of your account.

So, only allow access to trusted applications. Search information on Google about the application, what other people say about it and whether it’s considered safe. Also, carefully read the details during the installation in order to know what you’re authorizing the application access to.

6. Be wary of public Wi-Fi networks

Public Wi-Fi networks have popped up everywhere these days, from coffee shops to banks. Unfortunately, the majority of these networks are not secured and a prime target for hackers. Data sent over these public networks can be easily intercepted and used maliciously.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to use these networks frequently, it’s strongly advised to invest in a cheap VPN to protect your data. In doing this, you’ll be hiding the data being shared locally over the air such passwords and sensitive information and making it impossible to use maliciously.

7. Check social media account activity

Most social media networks like Facebook and Twitter provide a feature that shows you insight on login sessions. Typically, the security feature shows you the name of the device, location, device type and latest login session.

It’s worth it to regularly check whether you spot any suspicious activities on your account. The exact steps to check your account’s activity depends on the platform you’re using but you can often find it under “Settings,” then go to the “Security” tab and check the sessions.

Let’s imagine, for the sake of the example, that I live in Amsterdam. But, I suddenly notice that someone has logged into my Facebook account based in Singapore. This rings my alarm bells, because I’ve never been there.

Click on the triple-dotted line and select one of the two options. Log out this person from your account and change your password immediately.

If you find out your account is compromised or you have a genuine suspicion something is up, always change your password as soon as possible!