CYBER BLOG: Hardening Social Media

The ways in which we obtain our news and stay in contact with people has changed so many times in the past 100 years, most recently with the rise of social media in the early 2000s. Allowing us to be able to communicate with anyone in the world at any time is one of the marvels of the modern age, it however comes with its caveats such as hacking scandals hitting well known individuals, privacy issues and scamming attempts. With these looming at large, users should be aware of this critical information to be able to secure their social media accounts to help protect them from these problems.

The first and most obvious improvement would be to change the password on all social media accounts. First recommendation would be to use a different password for every account that you own to prevent them all being breached through a single element. While changing these passwords, switching to a more complex password or passphrase should also be considered making the ability to guess/hack it much harder for anyone trying.

Something that should also be obvious to everyone, do not share these new passwords/passphrases with anyone even those that you trust, this immediately destroys all of the work previously set up to help prevent the accounts from being broken into.

In addition to the strengthening of passwords for all social media accounts, something that should be enabled if available is 2-factor-authentication. This will add another layer of protection to your account when logging into it usually in the form of a code sent to a paired phone or e-mail address making breaking into the account harder as an attacker would then also need to break into the e-mail account or have physical access to the paired phone.

Note how in the previous section that 2-factor-authentication should be used IF AVAILABLE, this is because some services have still not been able to implement the system preventing its use as a security method. There are however other options available, one such option is the use of security questions, these are questions that a user will set and will be asked to answer when attempting to reset a password or change other crucial account information. Typically, these questions will take the form of personal questions asking about previous schools that you have attended or your first pet’s name, but, there is a down side to these kinds of questions. A potential attacker could be able to guess the correct answer to these kinds of questions through digging up other personal information about a target, so a recommendation for answering these questions is to enter an answer that is not related to the question as this does not give an attacker any real chance of being able to guess correctly.

Another item to consider is the amount of information about your location that you choose to reveal when using social media, it’s advised that this is kept to a minimum as it could reveal more information about you and people that you associate with. It is also possible that this kind of information could place you in danger as people are aware of where you are and when you will be there.

The final thing to consider would be where you are logging into social media. This should be considered because not all Wi-Fi networks are secure and safe to use. An example would be the free Wi-Fi at an airport or a coffee shop, these networks are free to use and do not have a password enabled on them, because of this, an attacker could monitor all information passing through the network and pick up password information while someone is logging into their social media accounts. It would therefore be recommended to not attempt to log into any important accounts while on a public/insecure Wi-Fi network.

For more information and support about this matter, get in touch.

 

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