Nowadays, social media is so crucial to businesses that keeping your accounts secure is imperative. Suppose we take even the most basic security precautions. In that case, it significantly reduces the likelihood that hackers will try to break in. What would happen if someone gained access to your accounts? It might have a disastrous impact on your business, which we do not want to happen.
Recently, there was an intrusion on our Facebook page. Through phishing, the hackers were able to obtain our login information. They sent a “notification” that appeared in the feed of our page about how we have broken Facebook’s community standards. Then they asked us to re-enter our login information to “verify” our account. We complied because it seemed legitimate, and had no reason to doubt the content. After a few hours, the hackers successfully seized our page’s control. Fortunately, we reacted quickly, and by employing 2-factor authentication (2FA), we successfully restored our page and permanently locked out the hackers. Still, some minor harm has already been done, but a crucial lesson has been learned, too.
So, to prevent such incidents, follow these three simple yet crucial steps to secure your social media accounts.
Use strong passwords and regularly change them.
Remembering “strong” passwords can be a real challenge. Many people use common names and numbers as their passwords, such as their birthdates, their pets’ names, etc. These might be simple to recall, but they present a severe security risk. A password is considered “strong” if it contains numbers, a combination of small and capital letters, and special characters like @, #, $, or %. For instance, it would take 552 quadrillion years for even the fastest computer to crack the password “Secure100Password3”! To avoid having your social media account compromised, it might be worthwhile to take the time to remember “strong” passwords.
In addition, if you use various devices to log in, it is advised that you change your passwords once a month. However, a McAfee article from September 23, 2022, suggests changing your password every three months if you only use one device.
Enable 2-factor authentication (2FA).
Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts. Beyond the username, email address, and password, another login credential is needed to access the account. You need access to something exclusively yours (like a text message with an OTP that you will receive on your registered number and email) to obtain that second credential. If your password is compromised, 2FA can act as a barrier to prevent hackers from accessing your accounts. Using a 2FA can significantly increase your account security.
Here are some guides that show you how to enable 2FA on your social media accounts:
Avoid suspicious links
Phishing is a technique in which online criminals send a mass email (or, in our case, a Facebook notification) with an attachment or a hyperlink. The attachment contains malware, and any hyperlinks will open a fake website or pop-up window that steals your login information.
Do not proceed or click any links if the sender requests personal information such as login credentials (to verify your identity) or if it contains typos, unusual images, or a strange email address. Likewise, look at the URL. If the address begins with HTTPS, the “s” prefix denotes some level of encryption and means it is secure. Most browsers also add a padlock icon to the address bar to show that the site is encrypted. As a rule of thumb, if it is encrypted, it is safe.
Phishing on social media sites like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter is known as social media phishing. Such an attack aims to take control of your social media account or steal personal information. The hackers steal your personal information and login credentials, which they can use to launch other scams and attacks. If it’s a business account, this could be especially risky. They might even keep running the scam among your followers. It might damage your reputation or remove your online presence from potential customers. In our case, the hackers tried to replace our identity with theirs, changing our page name and profile picture.
Therefore, as a general rule, ALWAYS double-check links before clicking them, even if they seem legitimate. It wouldn’t hurt to exercise extra caution.
These three recommendations can significantly improve the security of your social media accounts. Taking these extra precautions to protect your accounts can make all the difference when scammers and hackers are everywhere. After all, we want our online presence to be secure and safe, aside from being enjoyable and worthwhile.