5 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Shield
4 min read …
Social media has become the biggest data threat. Did you know that 4.5 billion data records were compromised in just six social media data breaches during the past year?
WHY do hackers want YOUR personal data?
What possible use could your city of birth, current employment or mother’s maiden name be to a them? Imagine all the pieces of your personal data as a jigsaw puzzle and each piece represents something that can identify you personally, for example: your family members, your current employer, your relationship status, your gender, the mobile device that you use, your email address.
Hackers are looking to complete the puzzle in order to use your data to commit a fraud in your name or sell your data to a criminal that’s looking to do the same. Here’s a typical scenario, a fraudster already has your email address and password from a previous data breach, perhaps from a recent LinkedIn data breach. What they need now is some other data such as your date of birth or mother’s maiden name. So they target you with a phishing scam on Messenger or a Facebook quiz where you’ll be comfortable sharing that information. Now they have the information they need to go ahead and commit a fraud.
How do you know if you’ve been hacked?
There’s the obvious case where a hacker has taken over your social media account and started posting as you and reaching out to your friends, family and acquaintances through the platform’s messaging tools. They could change your profile image even and modify your personal information.
In this instance, you need to keep a very close and regular eye on all your social media accounts. Speed is important – a lot can happen in a few days on social media. Remember the recent Twitter hacking? Swift action can help you minimise the risk to yourself, your reputation and the impact on your social media network.
Facebook have a great feature where you can go to your menu, Settings & Privacy, Security & Login, Where You’re Logged In – this will show you the location of the most recent active uses of your account. You may see logins from places that you do not recognise, then you know its time to update your login credentials.
Here are our top 5 tips to help you to create a strong line of defence against data threats on social media:
1: Social Media Monitoring Applications
Who has the time to keep checking all social channels every single day to make sure there’s no-one accessing your account and pretending to be you? The PrivacyDefence mobile app is secure, encrypted and designed to do the work for you! It has a feature designed specifically to alert you as soon as there is suspicious activity on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or YouTube accounts. The proprietary technology will also alert you when your social media login creds have been compromised and made available to fraudsters which helps you to avoid being hacked in the first place.
2: Adjust Your Privacy Settings
Are you aware of the default privacy settings on your social media apps, and how often to check for updates to those settings? The very word ‘default’ assumes that everyone’s threshold for privacy is the same. But we know some people are happier to reveal a lot about themselves on social media and others are much more cautious and private. Facebook for instance, will allow you to limit what information is made available on searches to just your friends or family. Is your location continually on, revealing where you are at all times – not at home right now, hmmm!
In your settings you can also block ‘bots’. There are literally thousands of bots continually scanning profiles collecting your data. Try this and see how many ‘bots’ there are: Settings, Blocking, Add to Blocked List and type ‘SPY BOT’. It’s mind-blowing! Go right ahead and block those bots.
3: Don’t Overshare
Remember the good old days when you’d spend time with friends in the pub, yoga class or at a friends house? Socialising is difficult right now, agreed, but it’s important to your privacy not to use your boredom to participate in social media quizzes. Would you walk up to a stranger on a train and hand them your date of birth? Be cautious of what you openly share on social.
Instead, why not use your spare time to take a look at your social media profiles and clear up the information that you’ve already posted on your pages —the people who NEED to know your birth date, email address and phone number already know.
4: Verify Friend Requests
Be cautious of connecting with people you don’t know – would you encourage an impressionable tween to randomly accept friend requests from complete strangers? Check and see if they have a shared connection, or how they came across your information. Why do they want to connect?
5: Remember to Log Out
When using social platforms on your computer or mobile device it’s important to remember to log out each time. Why is this important? Many of us save our login credentials so that the browser or app remembers, but if your computer or mobile device is accessed (illegally or not), that user can also access your social media accounts and harvest your data. Just make sure you have a secure method of storing your login credentials to refer to when you need to log back in – for example, use biometric logins (face ID or thumbprint) where possible.
Take your time, be aware and protect yourself – your identity is valuable to you AND to fraudsters.