Hackers have gotten smarter, switching from exploiting machines to exploiting humans over communication channels such as email and social media applications.
With the number of social media users expected to reach 3.02 billion in 2021, we can assume this phenomena of social engineering to obtain information won’t stop; in fact, because of the growing number of potential targets, it most likely will increase.
You see, social engineers engage with you over social media hoping that you’ll slip up and reveal some vital information that’ll allow them to infect your computer and steal your credentials and/or money.
Read more to learn how to prevent this from happening!
1. Check Your Privacy Settings
According to the US Security and Exchange Commissions, check your privacy settings when opening a new social media account. Not doing so will keep your privacy settings on default, which is broad.
Information that you’d only want to share with your friends and followers may be broadcast to a more public audience. For this reason, it’s important that you modify your settings to what you prefer.
2. Change Up Your Passwords
Make sure you use different passwords for each account. That way, if account hacking occurs, your Facebook account may be in jeopardy, but your other social media accounts should still be safe.
3. It’s OK to Deny Friend Requests
Say "no” to friend requests if you don’t know who the user is or don’t want to be friends with them. Social engineers want to gain your trust. One of the first steps to doing that is sending a request and gaining insider access.
4. What’s the Purpose of Your Social Media Account?
Is Facebook for connecting with friends? Twitter’s for networking? Knowing what each social media platform is for will help you create the content you want to share—as well as modifying your privacy settings.
If you use Twitter for networking, expand those privacy settings. But, at the same time, share less personal content. Doing this will ensure you’re not over-sharing, something social engineers pounce on.
5. 2-Factor Authentication is a Must
Beef your passwords up by using 2-factor authentication. This involves using two identification methods like a security question and your un-crack-able password. Two security checks are always more secure than one.
6. Look Out for Red Flags
40% of Facebook accounts and 20% of Twitter accounts that represent a Global 100 brand are lying and are not for the brand the claim to promote. Since it takes little skill to create a social media account and pose as a brand or person, this comes as no surprise, albeit it’s concerning.
Even a link from a large brand asking followers to click on it may be a phishing scheme. What we’re saying is treat all accounts the same; red flags apply to all. Speaking of which, here are some red flags to look out for:
- Vague or awkward information from a friend (account hacking could have occurred)
- Friends, followers, and users asking very specific questions and/or making very specific requests
- Friends, followers, and users giving several compliments
- Friends, followers, and users asking you to click links (possible phishing scheme)
7. Take a Gut Check
Even if everything checks out, if your gut tells you something’s up, follow it. If you want to verify a potentially questionable message or tweet from a friend or business associate, call them. That way, you can rule out account hacking.
Questions and Comments
What do you do to safeguard your social media accounts? Leave a comment below!
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