Social Security: How To Keep Your Password From Going Viral

July 29th, 2022 by admin

A person typing on a keyboard with various social media icons above their hands

82% of the US population reports having at least one social media account. That kind of prevalence makes these social accounts a big target for hackers and scammers. Here's how accounts are being compromised, and how to protect yourself.

Social media accounts are used by just about everyone. While they can be a great source of entertainment and a convenient way to stay in touch with family and friends, these accounts can also serve as a playground for hackers and scammers.

People consider the things posted by themselves and by others to be safe, due to the personal relationships they have with those behind the screens. So, should a hacker get control of an account, they have a trusting audience. Tapping into a contact list can make a scam or virus easier and faster to spread. People are much more likely to click on a phishy link sent to them by their cousin or classmate than by a random contact in their spam folder. So what can you do to keep your account safe?

1. Be Careful What You're Posting, and Who Can See it

It's important to check your privacy settings frequently. Most social media sites allow you to choose who can see what. This can keep your personal information out of the wrong hands. Be careful with who you add as a friend, or allow to view your page. Some red flags may include someone you don't know, someone with whom you have no mutual friends, or someone with very few friends.

The information on your timeline or feed could be all a malicious party needs, no hacking into the account required. For example, in the "Royal Name Game", a social media challenge that has been making the rounds for years, you post your Royal Name, which is Lord/Lady, the name of one of your grandparents, the name of your first pet, and the street you grew up on. Hmm, do those questions sound familiar? They're popular security questions. Your "Royal Name", or anything else you post publicly could assist a hacker in breaking into one of your accounts.

2. Have a Smart, Unique Password

I know, I know, you've been told a hundred times: Don't repeat passwords. Though it's simple, this tip is important for keeping you safe. If any of your accounts get compromised, and share login credentials with your social media, you and your friends list are at risk. For another added layer of security, enable two-factor identification.

3. Check Third-Party App Settings

While it's convenient to be able to use your Facebook account to log into other sites, it's important to be aware of the security settings. Only allow third party apps, websites and plugins to have access to your Facebook account if they are trusted and necessary. You can view these apps by going to Settings, Apps, Edit, then Apps Websites and Plugins. From there you can disable any platforms that you don't want to give access.

4. Beware of Links

You may feel safe and secure following my previous tips, however beware of links leading to outside sites. Not everyone keeps their account secure and many hacked accounts send out malicious messages containing links to let you "view all the messages from people who love you" or "GET MONEY NOW!!!" These messages may seem enticing however, it is not Aunt Pat who sent them. If a link requires any personal information from you do not give it. If you receive a suspicious link make sure to contact the sender through a different program and confirm that the link is from them, and if it is not then remind them to inform their friends that they have been hacked.

Stay safe out there!

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