With the advent of social media, hackers have found a whole new window of opportunity to tap into your personal information. From the Facebook Trojan virus to click-less Instagram creating fake likes, malicious intent is out there on all of your favorite sites.
This is only good news if you are a hacker yourself, but fortunately for the rest of the world, there are precautions you can take to keep these nefarious nosey bodies at bay. Here’s what you need to do to keep your account safe.
Safeguarding Your Social (Media) Life
Password power: Just like a car with a club on the wheel is less likely to be a target, someone with a strong password is safer than someone without one for the obvious reason that they are a harder and less worthwhile target. A strong password includes a long string of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
Never use a password that is obvious like your name, the site’s name or your birthday, and don’t repeat passwords on multiple accounts. It is also recommended to frequently change your password.
Be a snob: Keep your password and username safe. Don’t just hand it out readily to anyone promising to make you money, let you see who clicked on your profile or give you the vacation of your dreams. Legitimate inquiries from Gmail or Facebook will never ask you for your private information, so don’t be fooled by these common spam templates.
If you are nervous your account has been compromised, log into the site directly by typing the URL into the browser rather than clicking on the link that has been sent to you.
Be wary of third party apps. While you might love Candy Crush or Words With Friends, think carefully before handing off privileges such as writing on your wall or accessing your contacts list.
Check your privacy settings. Most social media accounts will have various levels of security for your account. When you set it up initially, these measures may be turned off. Go into your account settings and turn on all security options.
This will help control who sees what, who can access what and what will be displayed/available when and where.
Install an antivirus software. I don’t care who tells you it’s not necessary; ask those people if they’re willing to pick up the pieces for you when someone has hacked into your personal information and destroyed your life.
Unless you are planning on avoiding the Internet forever, get yourself a reputable and strong antivirus and update it regularly. Also, keep your browser up to date, as each update usually has added security features.
Log out of your account when you are finished using it. If you use an unsecured public hotspot (not recommended) or share a computer with multiple users (in an office for example), make sure you log out of your account when you are finished with your session. Staying logged in or having the system remember your password is an easy access point for anyone to walk through.
And of course, never click on a link unless you KNOW for sure it’s legitimate. Viruses can be scary, but don’t hide your head in the sand. Take the necessary precautions, and let the antivirus pros take care of the rest.