Enjoying a Safer Cyberlife Through Social Media
Protect your social media accounts before something happens
Use strong passwords – Protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed. Make sure they are at least 8-10 characters long and include a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, if you use multiple social networking sites do not use the same password for each one. If your password is compromised at one site there is a good chance it will be used to attempt to access other social media accounts.
Be wary of third-party apps – Third-party applications may provide entertainment or functionality, but use caution when deciding which applications to select. Avoid applications that are not trusted and seem suspicious as some applications have been known to not only gain access to your account, but to install malware and viruses on to your system.
Watch out for suspicious communications. – Criminals are known to phish for victims by sending communications to your inbox hoping that you will respond by sending information or clicking on a link that will install malware. Delete any communications from unknown sources. Friends and family are also susceptible to being hacked, so if you receive a communication from someone you know that seems odd or requests that you send money, be wary. Do not click on links or send funds. Instead, contact them by phone to verify the communication is legitimate.
Take caution with public computers and Wi-Fi. – If possible, avoid using public computers to access your accounts. These computers could potentially have malware that is designed to capture the information you have entered. Also avoid using a public Wi-Fi connection as the information can easily be captured by criminals on the same connection. Make sure to use an encrypted Internet connection whenever you go online.
Protect your computer. – We all make mistakes, so be prepared ahead of time by ensuring that your system is protected. (See our System Protection Tips for more information)
Signs that your social media account has been hacked
- Trouble logging into your social media account
- The login information changed, such as your password, account question and answer, or other security information
- There are updates on your account that you did not post or approve
- You have outgoing messages that you didn’t send or create
What do you do once your social media account is hacked?
Step 1: Change your password
If you’re able to log into your account (some hackers actually forget to change your password on you), then do so and change your password immediately.
Step 2: Regain control of your account(s)
If you’re unable to access your account, follow the directions on the social media site help center. Remember to change your security questions and answers once you have regained control as the hacker may have noted this information.
Step 3: Report It
Report it to the site immediately.
Step 4: Communicate with your audience
Whether you were able to log back in and regain control or not, it’s very important that you let your audience know what’s going on. If you were able to log back in, simply send out a tweet or a post explaining the situation and apologizing for any inconvenience it may have caused.
Other Things to Consider
Scan your computer with an updated anti-virus program.
Check your sent messages to ensure that no communications were sent to your contacts
Change the password on all accounts that you used the same hacked password on:
- Other Email accounts
- Financial accounts
- Online Merchant accounts
- Social Media accounts