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How to Protect your Social Media Accounts From Being Hacked

16 May 2023

In this modern age, social media platforms have become an integral element in many of our daily lives. Whether it’s for staying connected with friends and family, promoting a business, a brand, or yourself, or simply for entertainment, social media has revolutionised the way we interact with each other. 

Social media accounts have moved way beyond a simple portal to the world; they have become your online identity. More and more social media users utilise their social media accounts to log into other websites and services too – whether that’s online shopping accounts, emails or other online services.

Why Do Social Media Accounts Get Hacked?

The rise in social media use doesn’t come without risks. If hackers can compromise your social media accounts, they can gain access to personal information, such as your email address, phone number, and your credit card details. 

Hackers can use your account to spread malicious links, scams, or other forms of malware to your contacts. They could even potentially damage your reputation by posting inappropriate content, which could affect your personal or professional life.

Your social media accounts can also be sold to the highest bidder – a recent study showed how much social media accounts go for on the black market. 

A stolen TikTok account could fetch $8, while a stolen Facebook account might go for around $14 – Linkedin accounts are the most valuable at $45 each. These accounts being sold are then used for posting malicious links or used to generate likes on content. They’re often sold with a credit card and payment details attached, meaning that whoever buys these accounts can go on a shopping spree – with your money.

How to Protect Your Social Media Accounts from Being Hacked 

With all these risks in mind, it’s important to ensure your social media accounts are kept as safe as possible from the grasp of hackers. The best way of preventing your social media accounts from being hacked is by understanding how they gain access to your accounts.

Often, the only thing social media users are guilty of is using the same password on multiple different websites. When hackers successfully break into a website and access the passwords and user information there, they will then go to multiple other social media sites, and attempt to use those login credentials there. Other times, they will use computer programs to guess passwords, working off of lists of the most commonly used passwords.

By ensuring you have a separate password for each social media account, you can prevent this from happening to you.  When creating a password, try to avoid things that are easy for hackers to guess, such as names of pets or kids.

If you’re having trouble keeping track of all your passwords, there are plenty of free password-keeping apps for your phone available. Most web browsers not only help you remember your passwords, but they also help generate passwords that are hard to guess.

Other times, hackers will use fake emails disguised as real emails from social media websites to steal your password. This is a practice known as “phishing.” The email will look legitimate but will take you to a fake version of Facebook or Instagram when you click on the links. By avoiding clicking on links in emails and only accessing social media through their official website or apps, you can insulate yourself from this risk.

A third thing you can do to protect yourself from social media hacks is enable two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication requires you to enter a randomly-generated code sent to your phone or email before you can log in to your social media account. This provides an additional layer of security to your social media accounts. Even if a hacker does have your passwords, they’ll still be locked out without your additional code.

Is It Possible to Recover Your Accounts? 

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to be the victim of social media hacking, all isn’t lost. Most social media services have a means of recovering your accounts. Facebook’s recovery tool will let you enter a previous password from a device you’ve used before to recover your account. If that doesn’t work, you can scan your ID to prove you are the rightful owner of the account and retake what’s yours.

When you try to recover your Google Account, you can enter your email address or phone number. By entering your last known password, you can recover your account. If you cannot remember your last password, click the ‘Try another way’ button. Google will try to call you or use your backup email address to reset your password. If you don’t have a phone number or backup email associated with your account, you could be out of luck. For these reasons, it is very important to ensure your contact details are up to date.

Recovering your Instagram account is very similar to Google. When you submit a new password request, Instagram will text or email a password reset link to the email address or phone number you have registered with them. Since email accounts can also be compromised, this is another good reason to have your phone number registered with any social media account you own.

Keep Yourself and Your Business Safe Online 

Social media is an important part of our daily lives, but it also comes with the risk of being hacked. By taking preventative steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of being hacked, protect your online identity and keep your personal information safe from harm.

If you manage social media accounts for your business, it can be a vital lifeline and a source of income, so keeping your credentials safe and secure is so important. 

Simple measures mentioned above like keeping passwords safe, enabling two-factor authentication and even ensuring you use best practice within your team such as having a list of all employees with access to accounts can help keep you as secure as possible. 

Get in touch with us here at ICT Solutions to find out how our cyber services can give you peace of mind.