How to Keep Your Social Media Accounts Secure

October 17th 2013       Sally Ormond       password security, social media security, staying safe on social media

This post first appeared on our sister site, Freelance Copywriter’s Blog.

The news is often filled with horror stories of how accounts are being hacked and identities or information stolen. In fact there’s not a week that goes by without one of my followers on Twitter suddenly sending bizarre direct tweets asking if I’ve seen ‘that’ photo or video of me (bet you’ve seen those too).

The frequency at which these events occur would suggest that despite being told to use strong passwords, people still aren’t listening.

I know what you’re thinking, these days you have to set up accounts for everything – social media, shopping, banks, job sites etc., it’s impossible to create new passwords and user IDs for everything.

Granted, it’s a bit of a pain, but would you rather be hacked? And let’s face it, if you’re using the same password (or a couple with only slight modifications), it won’t take the hackers long to get into your accounts – yes, that was meant to be plural; if they can hack one, what’s to stop them getting into them all?

Not wishing to state the obvious, but considering the number of instances of hacking there is each and every day I think I should, here are 3 very simple ways you can protect yourself.

1. Uniqueness

In an ideal world you would use a unique username and password for every account you set up.

Before you roll your eyes and think that’s impossible, why not set up a spreadsheet (password protected of course) to help you keep track of everything.

2. Protection

When it comes to dreaming up a hard to crack password, here are a few things to consider:

  • The longer the better – 16+ characters is ideal as it will seriously reduce the chances of hackers sussing it out
  • Variety – use a combination of letters, numbers, punctuation and symbols to add another level of complexity
  • Smartphone locks – most smartphone users will just go with the standard 4 digit pass code, but why not step it up a notch and use a complex one? For iPhone users go to ‘Settings’ then ‘General’, “Password Lock’ and switch off ‘Simple Passcode’ and opt for something a bit more complex

3. Log out

I’m almost embarrassed to include this one because it’s so obvious. And yet people still forget to log out of a site when they’ve finished doing what they’re doing.

OK, so none of that is earth-shatteringly new, but it pays to be reminded every now and then about how important your online security is.

Just think about how much information about you is stored online in your various accounts. Do you really want someone to get their hands on it?

Over to you

That’s enough from me, how about you? Do you have any other security tips you’d like to share?

If so, leave a comment below.

 

 

Tags: password security, social media security, staying safe on social media
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