There are over four billion people that use social media. That’s over half of the global population! For many, it’s impossible to avoid social media completely due to the number of opportunities it provides. It can help you find new job offers, meet new friends, keep in touch with family members, or even act as your creative outlet.
While there are benefits to using social media, there are some drawbacks as well. Let’s focus solely on one of those drawbacks—security—and how users can protect themselves while using social media.
Social Media Security Risks
Lack of Data Privacy
Social media platforms encourage users to post often for a few reasons. For one, frequent posts reflect an increase in user engagement, which reflects well on that platform. Secondly, if users post frequently, there’s more data that the platform can collect and either share or sell to third parties.
Typically, a social media platform will alert users to its data-sharing policies, but some may be sneaky about it. Sites like Facebook are constantly in the spotlight for violating user privacy. You can learn more about Facebook’s violation of user privacy here.
Why would a hacker target someone’s social media account? What could they possibly do with an account? Most of the time, a hacker will hack a social media account for the sole purpose of impersonation.
Take the Twitter crypto incident earlier this year, where multiple verified accounts were hacked into and used to trick people into sending crypto to the hacker’s crypto-wallet. Many people fell for it, and the incident caused a stir around Twitter’s security.
Suffice to say, hackers are a real threat, and the last thing you want is for your social media profiles to be hacked by a cybercriminal looking to turn your profiles into bots.
How to Secure Your Social Media Accounts
1). Create Strong Passwords & Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
The ten most common passwords just so happen to be the worst passwords you could use for your social media accounts. If any of your passwords can be easily guessed—for example, if your password is “password”—change it to something stronger and more unique.
Along with a stronger password, it’s a good idea to enable multi-factor authentication (all major social media platforms support it). Multi-factor authentication adds a second verification step to the login process to prevent potential hackers from gaining access to your account(s).
2. Turn on Login Notifications
If someone ever tries to access your social media accounts, you’ll want to know immediately. After all, the sooner you know about a potential hack, the quicker you can act.
Fortunately, most major social media platforms send you a notification whenever someone logs into your account. These notifications can also tell you where the person logged in from, including the country and IP address.
3. Avoid Public Networks
Public networks don’t follow the same security standards as your average home network. They’re designed to allow anyone to connect to the internet, meaning that passcodes, encryption, and other security features designed to keep people out are often thrown to the wayside when creating a public network.
The result is a network that is convenient but terrible for security. It’s extremely easy for a hacker to connect to a public network, monitor the activity of everyone else connected to the network, and steal their data.
Because of this, you should avoid public networks as often as possible. If you ever need to use a public network, you can connect to a VPN to encrypt your data.
Social media comes with a plethora of benefits, but its users should be aware of the dangers that lurk on every social media website. With these three tips, you’ll be able to significantly improve the security of your accounts and ensure that your profiles stay out of the hands of hackers.