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Have you ever had any of your social media or email accounts hacked? If the answer is no, then you are lucky. At IMU, we have. And it’s not fun. 6 of our Instagram accounts were stolen – as in, password changed, locked up, and lost forever. THOUSANDS of followers we had nurtured for over 3 years. And the worst part? There’s nothing you can do. Instagram cannot (or will not) help you. (unless you are a Kardashian or something; that’s how the world works I guess)
One of the most famous internet entrepreneurs, Mark Zuckerberg, recently had his social media accounts hacked. A hacker group called OurMine was able to infiltrate his accounts; namely LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. (source: Entrepreneur India)
Thankfully, when this happens, your followers seem to be understanding. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t embarrassing! If you are not following safe practices while surfing on your computer or mobile device, chances are you could he exposing yourself to a possible future attack.
You don’t have to be a hefty-budgeted corporation to be able to implement security measures in your online behavior. Read below free ways you can protect yourself:
If you take any advice from this blog post at all, it would be this one. Make sure your passwords are strong, high strength, and unique. Never save your passwords on a computer you share with someone. That means not writing them on a sticky note stuck to your computer monitor! Also, never use the same password more than once. I know I have been guilty of this; have you? Many of us have had the same passwords for all of our accounts for years, and what’s worse is the top 25 passwords have the word “password”, include “123456” or “abc123”. The best way to keep your online accounts secure is to not use the same password in more than one place.
Here are a few tips for choosing passwords:
- Do not re-use your passwords.
- To make a memorable password, try thinking of an usual sentence, and then using the first letter of each word. Add a number or special character for good measure that is easy to remember. (such as using “@” for “a”)
- Try using a password manager like 1Password, which can generate secure passwords and store them online.
- Think Before You Click
If you receive a message from someone that you trust STOP and think. Ask yourself, does this person usually send me things in Twitter? Does the subject and/or attachment make sense? If you have any question just send a quick message to your friend asking, Did you send me this? In addition, “edit” the message by checking for misspelling or grammatical errors. If they are there, chances they are from a hacker. A quick note can save you a LOT of headache.
- Stay Up to Date
I know those software update pop ups are annoying, but they are worth it. Companies like Apple and Microsoft are consistently monitoring and working against vulnerabilities in their software to protect their consumers. Downloading updates when they become available is a good and easy way to protect yourself. These updates will generally include improved security settings and patches that fix vulnerabilities.
Additionally, do a little research before your download. Before you download an app on your phone or computer be sure to acknowledge and pay attention to what security it is asking for. If it asks for a little too much, go ahead and check the apps rating in the apps store, read reviews online and make sure you are accessing the official version of it.
- Report Any Issues to the Social Network or Email Provider’s Help Center Right Away
If you experience any hacking of your accounts, be sure to report it right away. Additionally, apologize to anyone you have inadvertently sent garbage to, and warn them not to open anything from you if it says “xyz”. It’s the nice thing to do.
Other tips include to use encrypted messaging apps, watching out what wi-fi you are using, being wary of mobile charging points, and typing out web addresses of links you are suspicious of.
Remember, what goes online STAYS online. How many tweets have celebrities (or presidential hopefuls) created that they later deleted, only to find screen prints of their message re-tweeted thousands of times? Never say anything that could hurt, anger, or endanger yourself or someone else.
Overall, these points are mainly common sense. If an offer or email link looks too good to be true, it probably is. IF you get an email or phone call offering free money or unlimited support, it’s probably a scam. It’s the world we live in, so you may as well learn how to live in it safely.