No matter what password you set, it’s important to take additional steps to protect your social media accounts from hackers and scams. Cybercrime will cost the world over $6 trillion by 2021, so this is serious business. If you use social media for your business or you’re a content creator, having your account hacked could be a nightmare.
With all of that in mind, how do you protect your social media accounts from hackers? What additional steps can you take beyond a secure password to ensure your account isn’t accessed by any scammers or thieves? With your online presence at stake, you need to be more careful than ever.
1. Start with a Strong Password
While a strong password alone won’t protect your social media accounts from hackers, it’s an important part of creating a strong cybersecurity foundation. In 2019, a reported 80% of data breaches were a result of a poor password. This means you can easily protect yourself just by creating a password that’s difficult to guess.
What makes a good password? Follow these tips across social media accounts:
- Your password should be different for each platform
- Don’t use any words or numbers related to your personal life (pet name, kids names, birthdate, etc.)
- Avoid overused words like “password”
- Include a long password with a mix of characters, numbers, and special characters
To test the strength of your password, try using the tool How Secure Is My Password to test it yourself. The best practice is to use a randomized, auto-generated password from a manager like LastPass or Dashlane. This way you don’t need to remember all of your secure passwords to keep them safe.
2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
All social media websites are enabling some version of two-factor authentication. This adds another layer of security, and it’s one of the best ways to protect your social media accounts from hackers. If you’re a content creator, YouTuber, or you post online regularly, you know how important it is to keep these profiles secure.
Regardless of the type of account you have, you can enable two-factor authentication under your privacy settings. When you turn on two-factor authentication, you have to take an extra step to access your account. This is usually to enter a code from your email or text messages. Because this is hard for hackers to access, you’re less likely to be a target for any malicious online activity.
3. Revoke Third-Party App Access
It’s common to configure your social media platforms with third-party apps. Whether you connect your social media profiles to photo editing apps or scheduling tools, be wary of giving them too much access to your information.
While it’s common to log in with your Instagram or Facebook account, this could expose your information to the wrong parties. All of these third parties are at risk of data breaches, and it only takes one mistake for your vital social media account information to be leaked to malicious parties. It’s a good idea to check in with your third-party access to revoke any that you’re not sure about.
4. Understand Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are super common on social media. The last way to protect your social media accounts from hackers is to understand and learn more about phishing scams so you can spot them in the future.
What’s a phishing scam? It’s when hackers “go fishing” for data, usually by asking for it or by appearing like a trusted app or service. For instance, if you get an email that appears to be from Instagram that’s asking for your password out of the blue, this is likely a phishing scam. Hackers are on the other end hoping to steal your information, so it’s important to always report this suspicious activity.
Realize that social media apps will never email or text you asking for your password. Similarly, if you receive any suspicious, random links, never click on them. You should never be asked to log in out of the blue like this. When in doubt, request support from your social media platform of choice to determine whether a request is legitimate or fraudulent.
Keep Your Social Profiles Safe
Unfortunately, many people lose their accounts on social media to hackers every year. While recovering an account after a scam is possible, it’s very difficult and frustrating. If you’re putting a lot of work into making quality content and building an audience, don’t put it at risk.
It’s always a good idea to be proactive about your own security online. Take the above tips seriously to keep your social media profiles safe no matter what comes your way.