In today’s world, anyone interested in making new friends, staying in touch, and communicating with their loved ones look to social media platforms. The number of social media users and networks continues to rise in 2021. Not only is it convenient, but it helps bring us closer together, no matter the distance. Social media’s influence has evolved into a powerful tool for everyday life, but amongst all of the benefits, there are risks that users should be aware of.
With more than half the world’s population actively using social media, marketing agencies see this as an opportunity to exploit user data for targeted marketing. What’s more, some social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn readily share user data with marketing agencies posing a huge data breach risk for users. Other data threats include direct cyber-attacks from hackers. Below, we break down some of the most common social media security risks:
- ● Phishing attempts – a hacker uses emails to deceive users into clicking on a malicious link to disclose their social media account details.
- Data mining – most social media platforms harvest user data for targeted advertising and sell to third parties.
- Malware attacks – hackers use social media platforms to distribute malware to groups of connected people.
- Botnet attacks – hackers use botnets to steal social media user data and to distribute DDoS attacks.
How to Secure Your Account
1. Do not use one password for different social media accounts
If you have multiple social media accounts, you need to set a different password for each account. This makes it harder for a hacker to compromise all your accounts if they gain access to one of your accounts. We understand that it can be challenging to think of multiple unique passwords and remember each account, but there’s a way of simplifying this.
You can invest in the best password managing application to ensure you create unique passwords for all your accounts. The app also saves the login details in one secure location, making signing in easy. All that is required is you memorize the password manager login details and it’ll take care of the rest. Think of it as a digital vault but with added encryption to protect against external threats.
2. Learn how to identify a phishing email
Hackers create email addresses almost similar to emails from real accounts to trick users into trusting the source. They use these email addresses to send fake alerts about social media account security breaches, requiring you to click on a link to secure the account. After clicking on a phishing link then the damage has unfortunately been done and you may already be compromised.
Hacking attempts have become more sophisticated, which is why social media users need to be more vigilant than ever. The majority of us will be able to spot the obvious attempts. However, carefully created email addresses require more attention.
A good rule of thumb is if something doesn’t feel right? Chances are they probably aren’t, do your due diligence by investigating email addresses to snuff out any trouble. Before you click any links, counter-check to ensure you are not dealing with a phishing site/email.
3. Invest in a VPN
A VPN or a Virtual Private Network is a security tool to mask online activity. With this tool, you can hide your real location, IP address, online traffic from hackers and internet crawlers.
It’s common to connect to public WI-FI networks from time to time. For example, if you’re traveling and prefer to save data. However, there are unprecedented risks to connecting to these networks. A man-in-the-middle attack is an example of a cyberattack that thrives on popular public WIFI spots. The perpetrator positions himself in the middle of a user and network, they can do this by setting up a fake network – which looks almost identical to the legitimate network – and wait for unbeknownst users to connect, giving them the credentials and details to steal personal information.
This security enhancement tool also protects you from hackers when using public Wi-Fi networks, ensuring all your online activity is secure. Click here to learn more about how to protect your social media accounts.
4. Use two-factor authentication or 2FA
When you set up 2FA on your social media accounts, you make it harder for a hacker to access your account even if they compromised a password. 2FA uses a code system that sends security codes to an authenticator app connected to the account or a mobile device via text. Without this code, any hacking attempts are useless.
Authentication factors incorporate a possession, knowledge, or inherence factor, making it difficult for any hackers to successfully infiltrate both phases. These factors can come in the following forms:
- Biometric factor – also known as inherence factor, it’s something inherent in the user’s physical self. Commonly can be a fingerprint or facial recognition.
- Possession factor – is something the user has previously imputed into the security protocol, knowing that in case of an emergency, they are able to obtain this physical information. This can be a unique code sent directly to your mobile device or ID card number.
- Knowledge factor – is something that should be unique to the user, such as a memorable answer to a question or unique pin code. Often or not, the website will provide a number of scenario questions for the user’s memorable answer.
Improving your social media security will protect you and your loved ones from hackers. There is plenty of damage that could be done if your data does fall into the wrong hands. As we continue to freely open our lives onto our social media accounts, we must give proper attention to how we secure our data. If you follow the tips mentioned in this article, you are ensuring online security on the internet and will be able to enhance your social media security. Also by following the tips above, you are ensuring stress-free sharing.
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