Lately, we’ve seen a lot of high-profile attacks on social media accounts. Celebrities and politicians alike have had their Twitter and other social accounts hacked to promote everything from sports scores to the North Korean government. With so many security breaches in the news, it’s natural to feel nervous about using social media. But with a few steps, you can reduce the chance that your accounts will be hacked and can secure Your Social Media Account.
So how can you keep your account secure? Here are ten steps you can take right now:
Check for suspicious Third-Party Apps
If you don’t remember installing a certain app or are not sure why it’s on your account, remove it immediately. Social media accounts can be hijacked even by apps that seem innocuous.
And while you’re at it, check your privacy and security settings on all of your social media accounts to make sure they’re locked down.
Don’t Auto-Log In
This is a big one: don’t log in automatically to websites when you visit them online. Most browsers have an option that enables autofill, which means that your information is automatically written into online forms. When you log in to a social media account, the autofill function makes it easy for anyone who sees your computer to access your online data, even if just by using the “Back” button to trick your browser into thinking you’re already logged in.
Rather than filling out online forms, type your online account name and password into the appropriate boxes every time you visit that page.
Use a Password Manager
Instead of trying to remember dozens or hundreds of passwords, use a password manager such as LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass, RoboForm, or SplashID. These tools automatically generate secure passwords for all online accounts, store them safely, and fill them in online forms. They also include other security features to help you stay secure online.
Avoid Public Computers
If it’s possible, set up an online account on your computer at home or another safe location rather than on a public computer at the library or internet café. This is especially important for online banking, which you should only do on a secure computer. For example, using an online banking service on a public computer puts your online account information at risk by providing your details to anyone who runs an online data check.
Never Share Your Password with Anyone
Don’t use your online accounts to give personal information to people or post online messages. If you do need online help for financial, medical, technical, or security reasons from someone you don’t know personally, consider contacting them through a different
Never Click Suspicious Links or Email Attachments
When online shopping for products, be very careful to avoid phishing scams designed to look like official emails from online companies. Hackers have created sophisticated online attack tools that can trick even the savviest online shoppers into clicking malicious links or opening dangerous attachments. In one recent case, a sophisticated phishing scam tricked even big-name celebrities into clicking on a dangerous link designed to steal their online account information when they tried to purchase tickets for a popular TV show.
Never Let Social Media Accounts Linger
If you no longer want an online account and haven’t logged in for some time, you should still be able to find it online and delete its profile. For Facebook, log into the account, go to “Settings”, click on the “Security” tab, and look for a link that says “Deactivate my Account”. Click through to complete the process.
Be Cautious About Online Shopping
While online shopping can be convenient, you have to take precautions if you want to stay safe while using your social media accounts. Do not save passwords or share any personal information with merchants or companies that don’t seem legitimate. Don’t shop with anyone who sends you unsolicited messages asking for your help moving money out of a country in crisis or another similar scheme designed by cybercriminals. And always remember: never pay upfront fees.
Don’t Use Someone Else’s Social Media Account
If you’ve lost your social media account login information and need to recover it, contact the company through an official online channel such as Twitter 24-hour customer service or Facebook Help Center. Do not send personal information such as your social security number or financial information to anyone who promises they will help you; instead, only work with them if they give you a phone number and tell you to call at your own risk.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi Networks on Your Computer and Phone
Staying safe while traveling is even more important when public wifi networks are involved. Pay attention to the name of the public wifi network before connecting; for example, if it says “Starbucks_Wifi” or “Athleta Free Wifi,” that’s probably safe. However, if it says something like “Starbucks Guest” or begins with an unknown network name followed by “_WPA2,” you are probably connecting to a public wifi hotspot. You should never use your social media accounts while using public wifi hotspots because they let crooks who are also using the same network track your online activity.
Social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, share your photos and memories, and get the latest updates from people you care about. But just like any other online activity, it’s important to be aware of how dangerous using these services can be if you aren’t careful. Follow these tips today so you can manage all your social media accounts without risk or worry tomorrow!