If you rely on Social Media in your business, which let’s be honest, pretty much everybody does, then getting hacked would have to rank slightly above “catch the black plague” on the list of things that keep you up at night. Its frightening, violating, and its happening with an alarming frequency. But just what can you do to protect yourself? And what can you do if you DO get hacked?
Prevention is better than cure
While no one is asking to be hacked, there certainly are some practices that leave you vulnerable, some of which you likely hadn’t given any thought to. Let’s have a look at some of the steps you can take to reduce your risk:
1.) Check your Security
Most Social Media platforms have what they call “Two factor Identification”, which means that you link a phone number or a secure code to your profile. This enables you to be alerted if someone tries to log into your account from a new computer or phone, and also protects you if someone learns your password, but is logging in from a new computer of phone.
There’s a pretty safe bet that most of you reading this haven’t don’t this, either because you didn’t know about it, or thought it seemed like a lot of hassle for nothing. DO IT.
2.) Stay away from suspect Links, Websites, or Click Bait
Everyone knows that 18+ sites are rife with Phishing and viruses, but did you know that Facebook is just as unsafe? How many of you have clicked on a quiz to find out “which vegetable sums up your personality”, without giving ANY thought as to where the site is taking you? How many have rapidly clicked the “this app is asking for your friends list..” notification, without even reading it? You know what vegetable you are? Hacked.
PLEASE don’t waste your time, and possibly expose yourself and your friends to hackers for silly quizzes. PLEASE.
Once you accept those quizzes, they attach to your profile. Most are harmless, some are not. You can perform a security check on your Facebook account, by clicking on the little question mark icon in the header of the Facebook Desktop as seen here:
Click on Privacy Check Up, and follow the steps.
Things to remember:
- If you don’t recognise that name of an app, link or profile, don’t click, DELETE.
- Keep your Profile private. Have it set to FRIENDS, or even JUST ME, but never PUBLIC
- Do not post anything identifying, like your address, phone number, bank details, anything! Friends can easily share or screen shot your posts. DO NO RISK IT.
- Once its out there, its never coming back. Whether its a snarky comment, or an unflattering photo, once its public, you lose control of it, so think hard before you post.
- Don’t put all you eggs in one basket. If Facebook is your only virtual means of communicating with your customers, your business is essentially gone if your Facebook profile goes too. Get a website!
3.) Change your passwords regularly, and keep them private. And don’t make them obvious
While expedient to use your child’s name, and for every password, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess your password.
Change your passwords monthly, and keep them random if you can. There are programs available to autogenerate passwords for you, so you don’t need to be super creative or have an awesome memory.
On that though, phones and tablets often store passwords for you, to make life easier, but phones and tablets often have much less security than Desktops, and are more susceptible to scan readers and theft. Its best not to save your login details on your portable devices.
Programs such as Akismet and WordFence are brilliant at protecting websites, and internet security is a cost that is a MUST.
I’ve already been hacked! What can I do??
Sadly, not a lot. You need to change passwords if you can, and report the hacking to the appropriate person, such as Facebook, or your domain host in the event of your website getting hacked, as soon as possible. Keep reporting every instance you see, and if you can, get the word out to your friends or followers on another platform, so they know that what they are seeing doesn’t represent you, and also, not to click any links that come from your profile.
It’s estimated that around 600,000 Facebook accounts are being targeted, DAILY. While sadly hackers evolve as quickly as means to stop them, taking steps to protect your digital information, and indeed your virtual identity, must be viewed as an essential part of online behaviour.