Social media is very popular nowadays because it allows us to connect with friends and peers from anywhere in the world and it provides us entertainment. Almost every individual has at least one social media account because nowadays, this is how people socialize and communicate.
However, regardless of how fun and entertaining social networks are, they raise a new security challenge. The most popular social network, Facebook, already has a bad reputation among its users for being unable to protect their personal data from hackers. Thus, it is now more important than ever to learn how to secure your social media accounts and stay safe online. Here are 6 tips to help you safeguard your social networking accounts:
1.Use a strong password
The first thing you need to do to secure your social media accounts is to set a strong password that will be very difficult to guess by hackers. Cybersecurity specialists advise social media users to set passwords that are very unique and do not contain very common words which can be found in their personal data. For example, don’t use a password that contains your name or your birth date.
Create passwords which contain both capital letters and lowercase letters and numbers. This way, your password will be very hard to guess or crack and your account will be safe from hackers.
Also, another important tip from specialists is to use different passwords for each of your social media accounts. If a bad-intended person finds out your password for one of your social media accounts, they are very likely to try to hack your other accounts too. Thus, don’t make things easy for them by using the same password for every account you have.
2.Use the two-factor authentication
The two-factor authentication has been created with the purpose of helping users to keep their social media accounts safe and protected from hackers or ill-intended individuals. You may consider that login into your accounts is more difficult when the two-factor authentication feature is enabled but it is certainly for your own safety.
The two-factor authentication empowers you to control better who can access your social network accounts. When logging into your account, you will be asked to introduce a digit code which has been sent on your mobile phone or email address. This way, in case someone else tries to access your account against your will, you will be notified and they won’t be able to do it because they won’t receive the necessary digit code.
3.Set up a security question
Setting up a security question is another great way to protect your social media accounts from ill-intended individuals. This function adds an extra security layer because no one will be able to access your account or change your password unless they know the answer to the security question you have set. However, you must be very careful with sharing this information with your peers or virtual friends. Choose a question that only you know the answer to in order to avoid allowing someone to change your password and steal your account.
4.Think before posting on social media
In today’s world, although it is a new challenge for us, online reputation is very important and could become a matter of security if you fail to take care of it. Before you make a post, you need to be aware that all your virtual friends will be able to see it. Moreover, nowadays, it is a very popular practice among employers to take a look over the social media accounts of their employees or candidates to determine what type of person they are. Thus, before posting a picture or a status with one of your opinions which may be controversial, think about who is going to see it and what the consequences might be.
Another important privacy matter you should consider is what personal details your account offers to your virtual friends. Avoid posting information which can be used in a scam such as your birthdate, mother’s name, telephone number or email address. Hackers and scammers can take your personal data and use it against you in so many ways that you could never imagine.
Social media posts often reveal your location if your GPS function is enabled. Unfortunately, revealing your location on in the virtual world can be very dangerous as it can make you vulnerable in the real world. Ill-intended people who want to harm you in the offline world might monitor your social media accounts to know where they can find you. Thus, it is also advisable to remove GPS coordinates from any post you share on your social media accounts.
5.Be aware of who you are friends with
Social media doesn’t only put your personal data at risk but also your own safety if you don’t know who your virtual friends are. According to Pew Research Center, one in four teens online users make new friends using social media networks. Although social media networks have been designed to enhance communication and socialization, they also raise some safety issues in the real world.
When making new friends on social networks, it is advisable to perform a free background check to find out more about that person. Enter their name and get all the relevant information about them including their contact information, criminal records, phone number history, marriage and divorce records, and much more. This way, you will be able to know whether or not your new virtual friend is a trustworthy person who is safe to meet in the real world too.
6.Don’t click on odd links
If you receive a suspicious link sent as a message on your social media accounts by any of your virtual friends, don’t click on it. It is a very common practice for hackers and ill-intended individuals to use links to direct users to suspicious websites or hack their account. Also, if you receive a suspicious message from an individual or a company asking for sensitive data, under no circumstance you should share it no matter how trustworthy the message might be.
Social media networks are very popular nowadays. However, due to the safety issues they might raise, you must be very careful about protecting your sensitive data.