It’s never fun to wake up to discover that your social media sites have been hacked by some vile internet troll. You don’t want to have to explain to your confused or outraged followers that your brand didn’t become a Neo-Nazi supporter overnight or that your latest product release is “Dumb Thing McDumb Face.” Anyone can have their social media accounts hacked, but there are a few simple preemptive solutions to make it far less likely to happen to you:
Make Great Passwords
Perhaps the easiest way to let a troll in is by setting up your social media accounts with lame passwords. Below is a list of some of the most common passwords of 2016, and seriously, if you are using any of these, you’re not even close to doing it right:
A strong and secure password is at least eight characters long, memorable, complex, and contains a mixture of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and symbols. Do your best to be creative with a special combination of keystrokes that only you would relate to so that the general public could never figure it out, and you’ll have a much safer lock on your social media sites!
Mix Up Your Passwords
It doesn’t matter how brilliantly creative and unique your password is if you’ve made it the same password across all of your social media logins. All it takes is for one lucky troll to stumble into it, and all of your platforms are instantly compromised.
By taking the time to make wildly different passwords for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., you won’t be completely locked out in the unfortunate scenario of a hack.
Review Your Privacy Settings
It’s not enough to be responsible with your passwords; you should actively research how each of your social media platforms handles your privacy, and check back periodically to see if there are even better options to make your account more secure. The default security and privacy settings on most social media sites are decent for simple personal use, but if you are using a website to represent your brand, do yourself a major favor by upping your privacy settings to the maximum level wherever you can.
Examples include two-factor authentication and setting up a series of security questions that only you would know the answers to.
Drop the Banhammer
Block and report obvious scammers & spammers whenever they follow you or try to get you to open strange links. If enough users report the account to the social network service, it will likely be removed, and you’ll have not only stopped their nefarious efforts to spread malware and steal accounts, you might’ve saved a few other users in the process!
Avoid 3rd Party Apps
Be extremely wary of third party apps that request access to your social media accounts, especially if you are using it to professionally represent yourself or your brand. Do you really want to run the risk of allowing an unknown group of people to post content on your behalf, or have access to your private information?
Think long and hard before permitting any app to access your accounts. While some are completely safe and potentially handy, others are just invasive phishing schemes. Be careful out there!
Raise the Firewall!
Ensuring that your PC or mobile device is a virtual stronghold is the final defense against incoming hackers. Always use the latest version of your preferred browser when accessing your social media accounts, and keep your device protected with an updated firewall, and anti-spyware, antivirus, and anti-spam programs. You can never be too safe!
Although it can be a bit creepy to hear news reports of various brands being hacked online, it happens. The good news is that it’s far less likely to happen to those who actively invest a little time and effort into securing their social media accounts. Stay safe, be alert, and keep those nasty trolls at the gate!