People are hacked all the time, celebrities are sending out absurd tweets and the Ashley Madison fiasco over the summer has us all thinking, how do we build a security fortress?
You may have realized that social networking sites have taken over the world of communication. Anywhere you look, places are flooded with people staring at their phones waiting for their latest 'like'. Businesses catapult sales with the help of their Facebook or Instagram pages, celebrities are using personal profiles to connect with fans like never before, and paid Twitter endorsements are reaching users at an unprecedented rate. With all this happening we can't keep our social accounts unattended.
These are the approaches I use, and I recommend you use them as well, to prevent these cyber criminals from taking control of private information. Use these steps and you will be able to protect your online identity.
1. Tech yourself before you wreck yourself
To rid yourself of potential risks, it takes more than a tricky password. Utilizing technology to challenge a tech-inspired issue is an effective option. Often times, the draw of social media networking overshadows the risk of potentially being hacked. Social media has a rapid and intense response. One bad tweet can affect major businesses, instantly losing credibility. Try using an app that alerts you of unauthorized access to your accounts. This is essential in keeping your information safe. The app LogDog notifies you when someone has breached your account so you can change your password on the spot. In my experience, defending yourself against hackers without using an app or software is a huge pain, do yourself a favor and find one that works best for you.
2. Get Creative with your passwords
Every person you know is currently performing a juggling act of remembering passwords for various important information. I understand people choosing to use easy to remember passwords (previously I had my dog's name as a password for all my accounts #Fail). However, this is a hacker's dream! Sadly, I have some bad news. The two most popular passwords currently in use are 12345 and password. As humorous as this may sound-- in 2015 those are the two passwords protecting bank accounts and top secret conversations across the world.
Come on guys, we can certainly do better than that. A password is one of the only methods of protecting the integrity of your business and personal privacy, it should be your most prized possession. Since I learned my lesson, I always try to think of something counterintuitive. For example, my password is.... Just kidding! Using symbols and random capitalized letters may seem trivial but these alterations can prevent hacking. It is also crucial to select a unique password for all accounts. Changing your passwords on a regular basis is also a significant improvement, the "rule" is somewhere between 30 - 60 days.
3. Educate yourself about online security
When it comes to taking advantage of social media for business purposes, open communication about what you are posting on social media sites is crucial in a business. Taking time to acknowledge the risk is essential, turn your employees into smart users. From creating a handbook to hosting a seminar I found that my colleagues were able to ensure unnecessary hacking. Also, people feel more comfortable around the office knowing the do's and don'ts of online security etiquette-- no one needs to walk on eggshells.
Try introducing a password management app like KeePass to assist your team in sharing passwords without making them visible to others. The less these secrets are discussed and moved to various applications, the better.
4. Only show who you know
Social networking sites are constantly coming up with methods to put users more in control of what they are sharing. Never assume that your profile is safe under default settings, that's a rookie move. Remove all doubt about how the public can view your profile by clicking the "view as..." demo button on your Facebook profile. This is an instant way to view your profile as "public". Take the time to see which photos, posts, and general information is accessible to everyone.
This step may be more important than you realize. With all the fields to fill out on Facebook there are a multitude of options for a hacker to get to know you better. If you are not careful, anyone in the world with access to the internet can gather your name, birthdate, things you like, your friends names and your phone number. Essentially your Facebook profile could be a hackers' paradise.
We are living in an exciting time, bursting with change in technology. There is no doubt that we need to improve the security of our businesses and personal pages from advanced hackers. Be sure to integrate these steps carefully and you can relax knowing all of your valuable information is much safer. Now that you've learned the tools to improve the security of your business and personal pages, what are you going to do to make yourself unhackable?