Donald Trump has, perhaps, one of the most infamous Twitter accounts in the world. Even before his election, he was known for inflammatory statements, and constant tweeting that would often make its way onto the evening news. Another thing Trump is known for, though, is not using all of his options when it comes to security (such as when he discussed confidential information in the middle of the dining room at his Mar-a-Lago resort). However, according to the Daily Herald, a hacker specifically reached out to Trump with advice on how he could keep others at bay, and maintain his social media account’s security. It doesn’t appear that the information was welcomed and implemented, but if the advice is good enough for the president, then it should bear consideration for your social media accounts as well.
6 Tips For Keeping Your Social Media Accounts Safe
Tip #1: Require Personal Information For Resetting Passwords
One of the most common tricks for gaining access to your social media accounts is for someone else to go in, pretending to be you, and to request a password reset. This allows someone else to steal your identity, and lock you out of your own account by choosing a password you don’t know. A simple barrier you can install is to make sure only someone with access to your personal information can successfully reset your password. Knowing your mother’s maiden name, the name of your first pet, or any other personal question needs to be essential in order to make sure no one else can swoop in and kick you out of the driver’s seat.
Tip #2: Verify Your Login Requests
There’s a security strategy called two-factor authentication, and it’s quite effective at making sure no one else gets hold of your social media accounts. While it sounds complicated, it’s pretty simple. Two-factor authentication simply means there are two things you have to do to sign in, instead of just one.
The first authentication is your password. If you click the option in your settings to verify your login requests, though, it adds a second step. The most common form this takes is shooting a text message to your phone with a second code that you have to type in. So unless a hacker has your phone, they can’t get hold of that second code. This adds another step, but it isn’t an unnecessary step if your primary concern is security.
Tip #3: Use An Email Account That Doesn’t Have Your Name On It
The most common email addresses we use are based on our names. Firstname.firstname.lastname@example.org is probably the most common formula for email out there, second only to using your first initial followed by your last name. The problem is that email address is easy to guess, and that is information you don’t want to gift wrap for those who might want to break into your social media accounts. Once someone has your email address, all they have to do is crack your password. While most of us think our passwords are secure, they probably aren’t. Without a second layer of security, such as a verification code texted to you, figuring out your email address is half the hacker’s job.
Tip #4: Use A Difficult Password
Remembering long, convoluted passwords is a pain. It’s the main reason so many of us will pick something simple, or tell our devices to remember our passwords for us. However, your password is literally your first line of defense against unwanted intrusion. That’s why you should pick something that’s hard to guess, easy for you to remember, and which uses a lot of different symbols and characters. Because it might take you an extra few seconds to type that password in, but what are those few seconds measured against the security of your account?
Tip #5: Don’t Use Open Wi-Fi
It’s tempting, especially when you’re out and about, to use the free wi-fi that’s made available for you. Whether you’re catching a burger for lunch, or having coffee with friends, chances are good there’s a hot spot tempting you with the ability to browse, and post, without using up any of your mobile data. When you dip into a public network, though, you leave behind all the security provided by a network you know, and trust. Anyone could be on an open network, and they could be doing anything.
Always use protection, as they taught you in health class. It’s better to browse less, but to do it safely, than it is to throw yourself and your devices into an unsecured wi-fi network.
Tip #6: Be Careful About The Information You Make Public
You know those teenagers who will post pictures of their brand new credit cards, proud of the fact that they now have credit? Then, just because someone told them to, they post a picture of the reverse side of the card, providing their security code along with their number? How dumb is that?
Well, it’s just the most blatant example of how what you put on social media matters. Everything from your email address, to your middle name, to where you live, is another piece of information that’s out there for others to use to construct a replica of you. If you’re on social media for business, that’s just fine, but remember not to get too personal. If the information isn’t something you would tell directly to a hacker, then you probably shouldn’t post it. It might come back to haunt you.