Critical Steps to Protect Yourself on Social Media

protect your social media accounts

Critical Steps to Protect Yourself on Social Media

Follow these steps to protect yourself on social media from hacks and unwanted watchers.

What if someone hacked your Facebook, Twitter or any of your social media accounts?

The damage someone can do to your personal and professional life can be devastating if they were to gain access to your social profiles.

Damage relationships.

Ruin employment opportunities.

The release of personal information.

Financial fraud.

Exposing family and children.

The reality is, someone who wants to cause you harm on social media can do so without accessing your account.

So, what do you do?

Follow these easy steps to protect yourself on social media.

Password Security

Remembering passwords can be difficult. Some choose to pick passwords they will always remember. According to Keeper Security, these are the top 25 most common passwords in 2016:

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. qwerty
  4. 12345678
  5. 111111
  6. 1234567890
  7. 1234567
  8. password
  9. 123123
  10. 987654321
  11. qwertyuiop
  12. mynoob
  13. 123321
  14. 666666
  15. 18atcskd2w
  16. 7777777
  17. 1q2w3e4r
  18. 654321
  19. 555555
  20. 3rjs1la7qe
  21. google
  22. 1q2w3e4r5t
  23. 123qwe
  24. zxcvbnm
  25. 1q2w3e

 

If you see your password on the list or it is similar, think of changing it.

Let’s create a strong password.

Here are common guidelines for strong passwords advocated by proponents of software system security.

  • Use a minimum of 12 to 14 characters if permitted
  • Include both lower case and upper case alphabetic characters, don’t forget to include numbers and symbols if permitted
  • Generate passwords randomly when and where it makes sense
  • Avoid including the same name as your account
  • Avoid character repetition, keyboard patterns, dictionary words, letter or number sequences, usernames, relative or pet names, romantic links (current or past) and biographical information (e.g., ID numbers, ancestors’ names or dates)
  • Avoid using information that is or might become publicly associated with the user or the account.
  • Avoid using information that the user’s colleagues and/or acquaintances might know to be associated with the user
  • Do not use passwords which consist wholly of any simple combination of the aforementioned weak components
  • Change passwords regularly

Source: Wikipedia

If you have many profiles, consider using a password management tool like LastPass or 1password.

 

Mobile App Maintenance

Taking 5 minutes to perform app maintenance can go a long way.

First step.

Let’s get rid of the apps you are not using or don’t need.

Second Step.

Check to see what information these apps are accessing from your social profile/account. This can be an entry point for hackers.

 

Who are you friending?

Have you ever accepted an invitation from someone you didn’t know?

Well, think twice before accepting.

Only accept an invitation from people that you know in life.

Hackers can send out endless invitations with the hopes of making connections and accessing information.

When you receive an invitation from someone you don’t know, message them, and verify that they wanted to connect with you. Then, ask them how they know you.

Take the time to vet people.

 

Enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication uses two different components to confirm the identity of a user.

For example, it might ask for username and password, then a confirmation code. This confirmation code is typically emailed or text messaged to you.

Most social networks offer this functionality.

It will take an extra step to log in, but it’s worth it. To not use it would be a big mistake.

Here are the guides for how to enable this feature on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

 

Check your privacy settings

What information are you allowing people to see?

Who can connect with you?

An easy way to protect yourself on social media is to review your privacy settings. Below are preferred settings for the top social media site.

Facebook

First step: is to decide what you want people to be able to see.

Go to Settings>Privacy in your Facebook account.

You’ll see three areas:

  • Who can see my stuff?
  • Who can contact me?
  • Who can look me up?

Take a moment to review each setting and choose the ones you are comfortable with.

facebook privacy settings to protect your social media accounts

Second Step: Use Friends Lists

This step can only be done on your desktop computer.

manage facebook friends list

Using friends lists allows you to organize your contacts and what they can see.

Maybe you have friends from work that you want to show only certain things on your profile. You can use Friend lists to manage this.

Step 3: Manage applications and outside data

Limit the flow of information that is used by third parties. This can be search engines, advertisers, and applications.

Go to Settings> Apps

manage facebook app settings to protect accounts

In mobile app: Go to Settings>Account Settings>Apps

facebook mobile app settings for privacy

Review these settings and determine what information you want to share with third parties.

Source: Wired

Twitter

Go to Settings>Privacy and Safety

 twitter privacy and safety settings

Tweet Privacy

If you want only those people you approve to receive your tweets, select “Protect my Tweets.”

Tweet Location

Decide if you want Twitter to add a location to your tweet. Twitter will store these locations. If you select, you can still toggle this feature on and off for each tweet.

Photo Tagging

Determine who can tag you in pictures.

Discoverability

You can choose to let people find you by your phone number or email address.

protect your twitter accounts

 

Personalization and Data

These options will let you determine how twitter will personalize your online experience. Do you want to share data with Twitters partners? Do want Twitter to track where you see Twitter content across the web?

Pick the settings you are comfortable with.

 

Two-Factor Authentication

You can add additional security features by going to Account>Security.

twitter security features to protect accounts

 

By selecting login verification, anytime you log in to Twitter, you will receive a code via text message you must enter to access your account.

Extra security when resetting password

Select if you want to provide additional information in order to reset your password. If you have a phone number associated with the account, it will prompt you for the number before you can request a password reset with just your email.

 

LinkedIn

To access your privacy settings, go to Profile>Account>Settings and Privacy

linkedin account setting for protecting social media accounts

LinkedIn allows you to set various privacy settings to meet your needs, including:

  • Who can see your connections, you can choose:
    • Only You or
    • Your Connections
  • Viewers of this profile also viewed
    • Toggle on and off if you don’t want to show this feature on your profile.
  • Sharing profile edits
    • Toggle on and off if you want to share your profile changes with your network.
  • Profile viewing options
    • This option is for when you are viewing other profiles and how you want to be identified.
  • Notifying connections when you’re in the news
    • Do you want people to be notified when you are mentioned?
  • Who can see your last name?
    • Select full name or just last initial.

linkedin privacy settings

Take a moment after reviewing these settings to review the section called “Data privacy and advertising.”

Linkedin data privacy and settings

In this section, you will be able to select how people will be able to connect with you if you are visible on your company page, profile visibility on third party sites, and whether LinkedIn can serve interest-based advertising through their platform for third parties.

Finally, LinkedIn also offers two-step verification for enhanced account security.

 

Conclusion to Protect Your Social Media Accounts

Taking the steps to protect yourself on social media is not difficult. Simply take the time to understand what you can and can’t do. As well as understand what others can and can’t do.

Knowledge is your biggest weapon in protecting yourself on social media.