Do you have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest account?
Even if you use just one of these social networking sites, you’re at risk of being sabotaged by social media hackers!
I know many friends and colleagues who’ve had their social media sites hacked.
So, how do you avoid being hacked?
Whether your social media site is for personal use or for your business, there are some easy things you can do to make it much more difficult for social media hackers to gain access to your social media sites.
You have to work hard to establish your business’ social media presence, and that hard work can greatly enhance your company’s reputation. However, thieves can steal your company identity and ruin your reputation in a single afternoon.
You can protect yourself (or your company) by utilizing these best practices for safeguarding social media accounts:
#1 – Utilize 2-Step Verification When Available
This is the most common security feature that social media sites are incorporating these days.
Two-step verification greatly reduces the likelihood of getting hacked.
Here’s how to set up 2-step authentication — it’s simple:
- You log into the account with a password.
- The site sends a verification code to your phone.
- You enter that code in a box that is provided on the login page.
In other words, even if a hacker discovers your password, as long as you have your phone in your possession, the code can’t be discovered. Verification codes typically expire within a few minutes.
Many social media sites support 2-factor authentication, so if yours have this feature, be sure to use it.
TIP: Simply by using 2-step verification, you will double your social media security instantly!
#2 – Create A Different Complex Password For Each Site
You shouldn’t repeat passwords. When you avoid using the same password for multiple accounts, you’ll be much less vulnerable if a social media hacker happens to figure out a single password of yours.
Also, don’t use derivatives of other passwords, such as “Password 1,” “Password 12,” Password 123,” etc. If each password is unique, hackers are unlikely to figure out a pattern to your password choices.
Hackers use algorithms to automatically figure out passwords, so a phrase (2 or more words) will stump them more often than a single word will. For example, the password “bicycle” is not as strong as “I rode a red bicycle as a kid”.
TIP: Remember to always make your passwords long and complex.
#3 – Use A Password Manager
Remembering all of your passwords (or passphrases) can be challenging.
If you happen to keep a master file of passwords on your computer (c’mon, who hasn’t done this at some point), you’re defeating the purpose of having multiple passwords — because a hacker could find your master file and gain access to all of your accounts at once!
A password manager is a secure place where you enter all of your passwords, and then assign them to the individual accounts and websites where you use them.
You will be able to log into each account automatically, because the password manager will fill in the password for you from now on.
The best part about using a password manager is you only need to remember one “master password” now. You’ll use that to access your password manager anytime you forget the password for a specific site.
TIP: Be sure to protect your master password. This can also be an added level of security to keep your social media sites safe.
#4 – Monitor Users’ Accounts Closely
Pay attention to what’s happening on all of the social media accounts you have access to, including:
- Your personal accounts
- Those of your employees if you’re a business owner
- Those your family members, if they’re all on the same network at home
Use these steps to monitor all of the social networking sites:
- Look at what your everyone is posting on your network.
- Move quickly to delete questionable posts.
- If someone gets hacked, change the victimized person’s password immediately.
- Watch for stray posts from people you don’t recognize.
A social media hacker may take on the identity of you or someone you know to gain credibility while sabotaging your messages.
You may even discover that a hacker is slipping negative messages into your account.
TIP: Changing passwords immediately after you or someone you know was hacked is your safest course of action.
#5 – Limit Users On Your Network
Only give access to social media to those family members or employees who will actually use it.
Someone who’s not paying close attention (and doesn’t understand the importance of being cautious online) can easily make mistakes and have their computer compromised.
The fewer people you have accessing social media on your network, the less your chances of being hacked. By limiting the number of users, you can review the actions of the few who have permissions.
Assign specific roles. For example, your social media manager will have different duties than a customer relations person who responds to company questions online. The point: not everyone needs to have access to the social media sites.
By assigning roles, you will be able to track any hacking-related problems to specific tasks or activities that were being done when the hacking occurred.
TIP: Facebook hackers are some of the most prevalent and assigning roles can help protect your business page.
# 6 – Revoke Social Media Access When Necessary
When an employee or family member leaves the network (either at the company office or at your home), it’s time to change social media passwords.
Change all passwords on all social media accounts, and pay special attention to changing the exiting person’s passwords. This is a safeguard that many people overlook.
In addition you should:
- Block access for that person’s old password.
- Change passwords and revoke access for those who’ve already left the network.
- Deny access for those who no longer need to use social media.
TIP: If one of your social media accounts does get hacked, these precautions will prevent hackers from entering your other accounts. So you’ll have time to spread the word about the compromised account and change passwords on all of your other accounts.
What If You’ve Already Been Hacked?
- Immediately take down the compromised account.
- Re-establish yourself as the owner by contacting the site host.
- Then start over with your password protection procedures (mentioned above).
Your social media accounts are a valuable asset. It’s up to you to protecting that asset.
More Social Media Security Resources
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some additional
- How To Create A Great Password (And Remember It!)
- What To Do If A Former Employee Slanders You On Social Media
- The Difference Between Deleting & Deactivating Your Facebook Account
- What You Should Do If Your Instagram Is Hacked
- 7 Worst Twitter Hacks Of All Time
- How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online