Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when using social media, or just about any other kind of site that requires a login, is recycling usernames and passwords across multiple platforms, according to Popular Science. Of course, the reason why this security mistake is so common is that individuals typically have a dozen or more accounts across different websites, and it's not easy to remember unique passwords - that incorporate numbers, letters and symbols - for each one.
To help with your passwords, experts recommend using password managers to ensure that passwords are both unique, and not forgotten. Moreover, setting up two-factor authentication on any sites that allow it can help add an extra layer of security between your accounts and potential hackers. Further, you should look at any privacy controls social sites may give you, and turn them to the maximum settings.
Minimizing or altogether cutting out your use of third-party apps, like stat-tracking tools for your tweets, can also increase security on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, according to The Inquirer. These are apps you may have signed up for years ago, or perhaps without even realizing it, and a hack at the app could give hackers a backdoor entry to your accounts. You can check to see which apps you've activated by visiting these social networks in your web browser and going into your account settings. If there's anything in there you don't need, it might be time to revoke or restrict.
Other potential threats
In addition to being on the lookout for attempts to crack or otherwise glean crucial identifying information from your social media accounts, there are other insidious ways in which hackers can gain access, according to a report from The Register. Security researchers recently uncovered a number of apps in the Google Play store designed to steal login credentials for Instagram accounts. While these apps were removed from the store upon discovery, it’s reported that they were downloaded by about 1.5 million Android users.
This highlights just another lesson: Be careful what you download, and only input login details when you know you can trust a site or app.
Avoid phishing traps
Along similar lines to the malware apps, hackers may still try to gain access to social accounts using standard phishing emails that either ask people to download files or follow malicious links, according to Baseline Magazine. Phishing is a major issue for both businesses and individuals because it relies on human error to work. Moreover, because these emails often look legitimate - often designed to copy automated emails from any number of organizations, including social networks - it can be easy to fall prey to the scheme if you're not being as vigilant as possible.
In general, if you can learn more about the threats you face online, when using any website, you're going to be better equipped to deal with those issues when they arise. The same principals can apply to other areas of your privacy and identity protection. Learn more about Identity Guard and ways to help protect your identity with News & Insights.