How to make sure your social media accounts are secure

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From social accounts being hacked to identity theft, to people connecting with your personal information, the consequences of not being careful with your social media accounts range from seemingly insignificant to life-changing, says Nicola Moras.

These days being hacked can have dire consequences. It’s not uncommon and the frequency of hacking is horrific with someone being hacked every 39 seconds on average. The people who access your information can do close to anything with it once they’re in, particularly given that many of us use universal logins – For example: ‘login with Facebook’ to access their accounts outside of social media.

Protecting your social media accounts is crucial and here are some easy-to-implement tips on how to do that. This serves to protect both your information and your contacts’ information.

1. Don’t share your passwords or write them down

This might sound obvious, yet you’d be surprised at how many people will share their personal information. Do not under any circumstances share the passwords to your social media accounts via text, messenger or even email. Discretion is key.

If you’ve ever lost anything in your life, you know that lost things have a habit of turning up in the strangest of places. We can often misplace our keys, our handbags/wallets and even our phones. It’s so easy to put something down and forget to pick it back up. Do not write your social media passwords (or hints to the password) anywhere in case someone else finds it.

2. Be mindful of just how much you’re sharing online

Opportunists are everywhere! There are people out there who may follow you locally and when you post about being on holiday, perhaps a friend or a family member may ask how long you’re going to be away. If you then post that information and someone knows where you live or can find out BAM! It’s like you have put a sign up asking to be broken into.

Be practically mindful about what you’re sharing online with your physical locations and even your purchases. Don’t make yourself an open target.

3. Are your friends really your friends?

Some people love having 1000’s of friends and connections online, but are your friends on there really your friends?

Similarly to the previous tip, be discerning about the people you accept as friends online and as contacts.

If you don’t know them, have a look at the connections and friends you have in common and be curious as to why they might be sending you a friend request. Many people will go through your friends’ list and add everyone in there. If it feels untoward and suspicious, ignore the request.

4. Delete old accounts

If you decide that you’re going to no longer use an account, consider deleting it. Often these days we receive bills to our email accounts and other personal communication through our social media accounts. Make sure you before you delete them that you provide a current email address that you have access to. This way, if you someone tries to reactivate or login to a closed or old account, you’ll receive an email notifying you.

5. Change our passwords regularly

Something that will help keep your accounts secure is regularly changing your password. Most social media profiles don’t have a regular prompt requesting that you change your passwords, so do it as a matter of due course every 90 days. If you fear there has been a breach of your own security, change all passwords instantly.

6. Don’t use the ‘sign in with Facebook’ when signing into new services

When you do this, you’re telling Facebook what platforms you use (so they can target their advertising to you!!). It can make it a bit harder to regain access if something goes awry.

If someone happens to get your Facebook password, they can then access any site that you have utilised the “Use Facebook to sign in” feature.

Keep everything separate and the passwords different to ensure maximum security.

7. If all this seems a bit much, you can download software that stores your passwords securely and use only one password to login to that

There are various software programs out there that do this, which means that all you need to do is remember one password and the software will store the passwords for all your profiles within it. Make sure you do the research to find one that works for you.

THE EXPERT
Nicola Moras is an online visibility expert, author of Visible a guide for business owners on how to generate financial results from social media and digital marketing. Nicola helps clients around the world achieve visibility, impact and profits, enabling them to become ‘professionally famous’ online. Find out more at www.nicolamoras.com.au