Social media is a great way for us all to stay connected and keep in touch with family and friends as well as stay updated on all the latest news from around the world. However, it is important to be aware that the information you share on these platforms could get into the hands of cybercriminals. There are many ways “attackers” can get access to your social media accounts. Below are some tips to help mitigate this from occurring:
- Have strong, unique passwords for each social media account of at least 16 characters with a mixture of upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters like ! # $ % ?
- Change your passwords every 60-90 days and more often if you notice any suspicious activity.
- Enable two factor authentication on your accounts. This means to be able to log in, it will request a special code that will be sent to either your phone number via a call or text or to an email that the attacker will not have access. This adds another layer of security if the attacker manages to get your user ID and password
- Learn about and use the privacy and security settings on all your accounts. Check these settings often as they change over time.
- Change your privacy settings from public to friends, followers, or connections only.
- Make sure you keep the following information private: location information, home and work addresses, phone numbers, emails, and date of birth.
- Only accept friend, follower, or connection requests from those you know personally. Especially stay away from accounts with no or very little information, have only a few friends, start sending you messages immediately with no real purpose or typos, and those that ask for something.
- Update social media apps regularly as the updates might include repairing security holes and flaws that can help keep attackers out.
- Do not tag your current location or wait until you are no longer at that location to post.
- Never sign in to your social media accounts from public Wi-Fi or public computers.
- Continue to stay aware of phishing scams. Never click on any links, attachments, emails, and other communication that you are not 100% sure of. Never respond to any requests for payment via social media accounts.
- Remember if it is online once, it is online forever.
Online interactions will never be completely risk-free. However, a few smart habits can go a long way in increasing your social media and online protection and safety.