“Hey everyone, my account was hacked. If you’ve received any weird messages from my account, please know that it wasn’t me.” 

I’m sure all of us have seen messages like this pop up on Facebook or Instagram. Unfortunately, this is not only very common but also very dangerous. Social media has now become an unavoidable and essential part of our lives. To name a few, we use it to keep in touch, know and engage with current events, share our lives, and organize events. While there are some significant benefits to social media, many security concerns often get overlooked. This article is about the risks related to social media and some tips on how those risks can be mitigated. If you are a young professional seeking to impact this field, cyber security online courses from Great Learning will be immensely helpful to you. 

Cyber security is related to employing tools and techniques to protect and defend your networks, data, computer systems, devices from exploitative attacks. Social media hacks need cyber security because there is so much at stake. While not everyone can have a personal cybersecurity expert, there are ways you can safeguard your social media accounts. 

Here are some valuable tips to help mitigate the risks related to social media.

Passwords:

Make sure you create strong, complex, and long passwords using uppercase and lowercase letters. Feel free to include numbers and special characters. Creating a different password for every social media account would be wise. For example, don’t have the same password for Twitter and Facebook. That way, if someone hacks one of your accounts, the others are still secure. Make sure you don’t use the information you share on your social media as your passwords. For example, if you have a cat and post pictures online, make sure your cat’s name is not your password. If you are worried about forgetting all your different passwords, you can use a password manager. But you need to make sure you never forget the password manager’s password. Lastly, please don’t share your passwords with anyone and lock your phone when it’s not in use. 

Security and Privacy settings

Take the time to regularly check the security and privacy settings for every account you have. Make sure that you keep most of your personal information confidential. These social media platforms are updated often, so make sure you assess them frequently to secure your account. Ensure that if you purchase something through your social media account, your credit card information isn’t stored, as hackers can quickly get this information if your account is hacked. 

In addition to this, make sure you don’t share your details even in the ‘about me’ section. Keep track of what you’ve shared on your media platforms and ensure you don’t share sensitive information. Once your data is online, it is nearly impossible to take it down. Share these insights with your family members who might not be aware of these threats. Sometimes, a user’s default setting can be put as ‘public,’ and anyone can view their information without their knowledge or consent. 

Protect your logins

While it is ok to have your browser save your passwords on your laptop, make sure that a website or browser doesn’t remember your login details. This often happens when you use a public library, internet café, or a borrowed tablet. You also want to be careful when logging into your accounts using a public hotspot or Wi-Fi. These untrusted networks make it possible for someone to see what you’re doing. 

Don’t access your accounts through links someone sent you. It could lead you to a fake site where malware or a virus could be planted onto your device. These viruses and malware can also hide behind advertisements. Once they have access to your network, the cyber attacker can steal your private information as well as destroy your computer system. Type the URL directly into your browser or use bookmarks to log in to your frequently used social media platforms. 

Antivirus and Antispyware 

You can make sure that you update your antivirus when needed and that it scans your device regularly. While browsing, if a pop-up shows that this is an untrusted site, unless necessary, make sure to follow your antivirus warning. These programs are created to block unauthorized access to your networks and devices. In addition to this, make sure to update your operating system and keep the firewall on. 

Scams

Many scammers can obtain your confidential information through your social media accounts, and you must be aware of their methods. One of the ways is through social engineering, where the scammer researches a person and gains enough information for them to be able to guess their passwords. They could also gain access to your information by earning your trust first and then tricking you into sharing information about yourself. Romance scams are pretty common these days. The scammer might pretend to be romantically interested in you and eventually seeks out confidential information about you or even elicit money from you. They could even apply for a loan in your name if they get a hold of your data. 

Be cautious about opening links sent on social media. These links could be a website announcing a free prize or a bonus. These are most likely scams set up to get your details or put malware on your device. 

Be careful if a friend on social media suddenly sends you a strange message asking for money or your personal information. It could be that they are hacked, or the scammer has created an identical account to act as your friend. If this happens, try to contact your friend by calling them or personally meeting them. If it is a scam, make sure that it is reported immediately. A tool meant to connect people from all over the world has become a significant target for cybercrime. However, cyber security employees are evolving and updating the security features on social media platforms to make it safer for us. If this field interests you, Great Learning offers  free cyber security course. We must become more aware of these malicious threats and find ways to eliminate them.