We’ve all seen it or heard of it: when a social media account from a brand, close friend, or family member oddly posts gibberish or strange links. It seems fake – “They would never post that!” you might think. And you’re right, they wouldn’t and were likely hacked, meaning a person or malicious spam “bot” gained access to the account.
What if it happened to you? Do you have a plan? There’s a lot to learn, but imagine losing access to your personal social accounts forever – you would be devastated. If you lost access to your business accounts, that just might be worse. Don’t allow online intruders to grab the keys to your social media presence. Let’s get to work!
The best way to avoid getting hacked is to use a strong password, meaning not “password,” your name, your username, etc. Be sure to include numbers, symbols such as # or %, and both cAsEs Of LeTtErS. Plus, change your password every once in a while.
#2: Be Cautious
Don’t click links when you’re not sure where they go. If you get an email, a Twitter DM, or any other form of communication that seems suspicious – it’s 99% likely that it is. Be sure your browsers (like Chrome or Firefox) are up-to-date because they typically warn you of suspicious links or websites that could install harmful “bots” on your computer.
#3: Be Aware
Many social networks offer security and privacy checkups. For example, be sure your personal Facebook profile is secure by using the tools listed here.
Facebook business pages are typically accessed through personal accounts of administrators. Protecting your personal account in turn protects any business pages you manage.
#4: Public Networks and Devices
If you use public Wi-Fi (particularly if a password is not required to join the network), be cautious about signing into your bank account or other websites with sensitive data. Hackers are often able to exploit the weak security public Wi-Fi offers.
If you use a public computer, perhaps at the library or at a university, don’t forget to sign out of any sites you use. Of course you always think the best of folks, but it’s impossible to predict who might come across your profile.
#5: Two-Step Verification
To be doubly sure your social media accounts won’t be compromised by hackers or “bots,” look into two-step verification. It can definitely be inconvenient (every time you log in on a computer, a text will be sent to your mobile phone to confirm it’s actually you), but the enhanced security could be worth it. Read more on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
#6: Stay Updated
Be sure the email address and phone number linked to your social media accounts are both up-to-date. Those are the two main ways you can verify your true identity if you ever get hacked. For company social media presences, keeping an internal, team-only document with all passwords listed is recommended.
Ryan Collins is Social Media Program Manager at AKHIA. Follow him on Twitter @ryanscollins.