Social media is such a huge thing these days that billions of people use it, and most consumers spend hours on one site or another every day. Whether you like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest or another option, you probably can’t imagine a week or even a day going by without checking in to see what’s going on in the social media sphere.
While this is all well and good, and there can be many benefits to be found from this kind of tech, particularly when it comes to keeping in touch with people and building your career, there are also numerous downside to consider. Most people talk about how much time social media can suck up, but security is another issue.
With so many people using social media, hackers find it a prime space to locate vulnerabilities. To keep your information and finances safe from prying eyes, read on for some top tips to keep cyber criminals at bay effectively.
Use Good Security Software
It might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to staying safe on social media, but one key way to keep hackers at bay is to install good quality security software on all the devices you use to browse sites online.
Comprehensive software that provides antivirus, spam, malware, ransomware and spyware protection will make it less likely that hacker tactics will affect you. It pays to install a complete home network security system, too, so you’re alerted straight away if any iffy code gets through or causes issues on any device.
Put a Proper Password in Place
Of course, you must also be vigilant about the passwords you use on social media sites and elsewhere when browsing online. It might seem annoying to have to come up with quality codes and remember them, but hackers know all the common passwords people use and can break into networking and other sites in a flash if you don’t take the necessary precautions.
Passwords that will help keep cybercriminals from your accounts are at least 12 characters long and made up of a mixture of numbers, symbols and upper- and lower-case letters. Be careful not to use codes that relate in any way to information you post publicly (e.g. birth dates, email addresses, business names, pet names, children’s names, lucky numbers and so on).
Change your passwords every few months for additional security, and use different passwords on your social media sites to those you use elsewhere. That way, if you do get hacked, cybercriminals won’t be able to use those same codes to break into your bank accounts, home networks or other sensitive places.
Read up on Common Scams Hackers Use
You’ll be less likely to fall victim to a hacking attack if you’re aware of the most common scams used by cybercriminals. For example, a technique known as “pharming” is an often-used strategy on social media sites. Hackers using pharming to post advertisements or other content designed to legitimately look like it has come from trusted businesses, such as popular blogs and news sites, banks, telecommunications firms and the like. The idea of this scam is that people click on links thinking they’ll be taken to legitimate websites, ones they have used before. Once there, people try to log into accounts using their username and password. The problem is that these are fraudulent sites, and hackers get details of logins and can then use them to break into real accounts, hijack them, steal personal data and so on. To avoid this issue, only ever type in your login details on sites which you have directly typed in the URLs for yourself, rather than following links.
Don’t Post Just Anything Online
Another tip is to be careful about the information you post online. Don’t just make anything visible to the public; stop and think before you hit enter on anything that gives away personal details about yourself, your family, your business or other parts of your life. Hackers are constantly trawling social media sites to look for personal information they can take advantage of to crack passwords, engage in identity theft and further cause havoc.
Always verify connections before you accept “friend requests” or other interactions with people, as you might be giving hackers the chance to get to know more about you. Utilize the privacy settings on social media sites to keep your information away from cybercriminals, too.