The human race practically lives on social media these days, so if your account gets hacked, it can feel a little bit like there’s an intruder in your digital home. But don’t panic, because there are a number of measures you can take to reclaim your online abode and protect the valuable data within. So keep calm, take a deep breath, and follow these tips to get your social media back on track.
Sure, it might sound obvious, but it’s important to change your password after your account has been compromised. And by change, we don’t mean switch some letters around or flick it from ‘username1993’ to ‘username93’ – you’ve got to go the whole hog this time.
For a super-secure password the Cyber Aware government website recommends that you take three random words and put them together. You can add symbols and numbers if you like, but to if you want to keep it really easy to remember, use three random words. Our example would be:
It’s really easy for someone to look into your social media pages for personal information like your partner’s name, so be sure not to include anything like this in your password.
Most social media platforms have a means of reporting hacking or any other inappropriate behaviour, like profile duplicating. You can easily contact them directly through their help centres and support sites. It’s a good idea to do this immediately after you change your password, so the site can look into the issue right away.
If you aren’t already, you should definitely consider using multi-factor authentication. It’s one of the best ways to keep social media accounts safe.
Once its set up, every time you try to access your social media from a new device, you’ll be asked to enter a special security code (pre-determined by you) or something similar. On certain platforms, like Facebook, you can also get alerts whenever someone tries logging in from a computer that isn’t recognised, making it easier to know when your account is under threat.
To activate multi-factor authentication, visit your security settings on each social media platform and follow the instructions.
Given the open nature of social media, it’s important to keep an eye on your privacy settings. If you don’t want anyone to be able to access your tweets, location, photos, statuses, and everything in-between, you should check out your privacy options and edit them to suit your needs. Just pop into your settings to do this. For example, on Twitter you can choose to add or delete your location information, protect your tweets from prying eyes, and stop others finding you via email and phone numbers. Every platform has its own set of options, so be sure to give them all the once over.
Nowadays, most web browsers try to make life easier by remembering all of our passwords. It’s a time-saving, stress-busting solution that means we don’t have to plaster our desks with post-it-notes to keep tabs on our secret watchwords. Unfortunately, it’s also a feature that presents a number of risks.
Say you lose your smartphone, tablet, or laptop on the commute home from work. In a perfect world, some kind soul would hand it in, and it’d be back in your arms the very next day. But, if someone with more sinister motives happens across it, they could have instant access to every single one of your social media accounts (and potentially more). It might be frustrating in the short term, but disabling those password saving features might just be a blessing in disguise further down the line. Again, this can be done in your browser’s settings.