Tips for Staying Safe Online With Your Social Media Accounts

Categories: Cyber Security Awareness Month Information Security

Tips for Staying Safe Online With Your Social Media Accounts

Social media has made the world a more connected place, and in most cases, that’s a good thing. But social media has also created easy access to people’s and business’ information. And that can be a very bad thing when it comes to hackers and scammers getting involved.

Giving up social media is not a realistic option. Social remains the current most effective way to reach certain audiences. But neither is it reasonable to carry on as if social networks are always safe and secure. You need to take steps to protect your personal and the university’s information against some of the most common social media security threats. Here’s where to start.

Third-party Apps

Third-party apps are apps or websites that let you access your social media account’s information to look at statistics or analytics of your site. These apps are not usually approved by the social media companies themselves.Even if you have your own social accounts on lock-down, hackers may be able to gain access through vulnerabilities in third-party apps that integrate with the big social networks.

For example, hackers gained access to the Twitter accounts of Forbes and Amnesty International using a flaw in the Twitter Counter app, used for Twitter analysis.

So be sure to use the official social media websites to view your social media information to decrease the likelihood of personal or private information from being obtained by hackers or scammers.

Phishing Attacks and Scams

Phishing scams use social media to trick people into handing over personal information (like banking details, passwords, or business information).
A recent social media scam involved false reports that the actor Rowan Atkinson had died. (The Mr. Bean and Blackadder actor is still very much alive.)

What looked like a video link actually directed users to a page that said their computer had been locked, with a phone number to call for support. Rather than a support team, the phone line connected to scammers looking for credit card numbers and personal information. Worse, the “support software” offered was actually a virus.

So if you ever run into an issue like this, where you get a big error in your web browser asking you to contact someone for support, please contact your Computer Support Specialist on campus first before doing anything else so that we can help you determine if these errors are legit. (Most of the time they are not!)

Limit Social Media Access

You may have several staff members working on social media messaging, post creation, or other content creation. But that doesn’t mean everyone needs the ability to post. And it doesn’t mean that everyone needs to know the passwords to your social accounts.

The first line of defense is to limit the number of people who can post on your accounts. Think carefully about who needs posting ability and why.
Also, if a staff member leaves the university or moves to a different position, be sure to disable their access to your social accounts to prevent any accidents or malicious posts from being created.

Use Unique Passwords for Each Social Network

It’s a pain, I know. But it is also absolutely recommended that you don’t use the same password for Twitter as you do for Facebook, Instagram, or other social tools. Using a single password makes it easy for hackers and scammers, as gaining access to one means gaining access to all. Just imagine how painful it will be when you find you’re locked out of your entire online life.

When you use one password for multiple services, you’re only as safe as the least secure service you use. For example, if there is a security breach at Facebook and hackers or scammers have obtained your information, they’ve effectively gained your information for Twitter and Instagram as well, if you use the same password for all sites.

Additional Links and Information

15 Social Media Security Tips

Written by: , DASNR IT

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