Photo by Ron Lach
In an era where likes, shares, and hashtags are part of our daily lexicon, social media platforms have become more than just a means of staying connected; they’ve become integral to our digital lives. But as we scroll through our feeds, commenting, sharing, and liking, we often forget that our social media accounts can be vulnerable to various threats – from hackers to identity theft. It’s like leaving the front door of your digital house wide open.
This concern is so prominent we even have a government agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, that runs a #SecureOurWorld campaign to spread awareness about cybersecurity threats. October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so there’s never been a better time to take extra precautions in protecting your digital landscape. In this article, we’ll explore some practical tips and tricks to keep your social media accounts safe from prying eyes and sticky fingers.
Why Worry About Social Media Security?
“Who would want to hack my Instagram? It’s just pictures of my dog and avocado toast.” “I don’t even post at all.” Well, think again! Your social media accounts can reveal a lot about you. From personal details like your full name, birthday, and location, to your interests through the pages you like and follow, relationships, and even your daily routines, there’s a treasure trove of information that can be exploited if your accounts fall into the wrong hands.
1. Start with a Strong Password.
First things first, let’s talk about passwords. We get it; it’s a pain to remember a complicated string of characters, but it’s also essential. Don’t use “password123” or “admin” as your password; these are the digital equivalent of putting a “Welcome Burglars” sign on your front lawn.
Instead, create a robust password that includes a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. You can even use a passphrase – a sentence or phrase that’s meaningful to you but difficult for others to guess. For instance, “ILove2HikeInTheMountains!” is way more secure than “1234abcd.”
Another thing to note is that you shouldn’t reuse passwords across multiple accounts. If a hacker cracks one password, they’ll have access to all your accounts. Use a password manager to keep track of your unique and complex passwords.
2. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Is Your Friend.
Not everybody likes this aspect of having digital accounts but even with our strong passwords in place, why stop there? Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an additional layer of security that’s like a secret code for your accounts. It requires you to provide two different types of identification before you can access your account.
Usually, it involves something you know like your password and something you have which is your phone. When you enable 2FA, even if someone gets hold of your password, they won’t be able to access your account without that second piece of the puzzle.
Most social media platforms offer 2FA as an option, and setting it up is a breeze. Check your settings if you skipped this process in setting up your social media accounts.
3. Accept Follow Requests Wisely.
Something everyone needs to know is that not everyone really is who they say they are on social media. Sure, getting new followers feels like a popularity boost, but not all follow requests are friendly. Be selective about who you accept into your digital inner circle.
Avoid accepting requests from accounts that look suspicious, like profiles with no profile picture, very few posts, or a strangely high number of followers. These could be bots, potential troublemakers, or even scammers.
4. Update Your Privacy Settings.
Social media platforms provide a range of privacy settings that allow you to control who sees your content. It’s like deciding who’s invited to your virtual party and who’s not.
Take the time to review and adjust these settings to suit your comfort level. You can choose to share posts only with friends, limit who can send you messages, or even hide your profile from search engines. Don’t overshare – keep your digital doors locked to outsiders if you must. It’s all a choice. You can further understand this by looking at this material prepared by the National Protective Security Authority on “My Digital Footprints”.
5. Beware of Phishing Attempts.
If you’ve seen posts like “Hey, you’ve just won a free iPhone X! Click this link to claim your prize!” then, you’re not alone. They’re often too good to be true and, most likely, they are. These are phishing attempts, designed to steal your personal information or spread malware.
What phishing means is that something is presented in a way that it is not. It may even look like a link to a genuine blog post but has some shady details like unsolicited messages or emails asking for your login credentials or personal details. Even if they appear to come from a friend, or a trusted business account, double-check by contacting them through another channel before clicking any links or sharing information.
6. Stay Up-to-Date.
Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field, and social media platforms are no exception. They regularly update their security features to stay ahead of potential threats. Instagram, for example, would require you to login again if it discovers that your login details may have been stolen by another site. It’s just for precaution purposes.
To benefit from these improvements, keep your apps and devices up-to-date. Enable automatic updates whenever possible, so you don’t have to manually check for updates constantly.
Your social media accounts are not just virtual spaces; they are extensions of your life. Just as you wouldn’t leave your front door unlocked, don’t leave your digital doors wide open for intruders. By following these simple yet crucial tips, you can enjoy the benefits of social media while keeping your accounts safe and sound.
Author: Olaniyan Olawale Abdullahi
I’m Olaniyan Olawale Abdullahi, a passionate wordsmith, and dedicated problem solver. My journey began at Adekunle Ajasin University, where I delved into the world of Physics Education. But my true calling emerged when I realized my knack for connecting people through words.
With an unwavering interest in aiding others, I’ve channeled my skills to assist business owners in crafting captivating blog posts and articles that truly resonate with their audience. Beyond writing, I also embrace the role of a virtual assistant, helping entrepreneurs streamline their tasks and make the most of their time.
My goal is clear: to empower businesses with engaging content and efficient support. Whether it’s weaving narratives, simplifying tasks, or sparking connections, I’m here to elevate your endeavors.
Let’s embark on this collaborative journey together. Reach out to me at olaniyanolawale[email protected] and let’s explore the endless possibilities.