No matter how often you use your social media accounts, you probably love them because they give your mind and fingers a sense of possession. Some people literally have their lives on social media, starting from date photos, morning selfies down to bad hair days and the saddest of moments all shared to their friends and family online.
But we must not forget that these moments and pieces of text we share online are stored online and we need some bit of security to access them. Well social media security today is usually neglected to the companies and there is little being done to secure our data on a personal level until a tragedy occurs.
Tragedy is that moment when you wake up, unlock the pattern on your phone, open up Facebook but your Facebook password no longer works. You probably receive a WhatsApp message from a friend telling you that you tagged them in a pornographic video. Panic and stress are written all over your face. You try to reset your password but the hacker has already changed your email address on facebook. You call up a friend who is good in I.T only for them to disappoint you or tell you to create a new account and follow the steps below to secure your account.
How? you might ask. Well you are in luck. Below are the ways you should secure your social media accounts;
First let’s start with your email address. Well, you won’t tweet inside your email but remember that an email address is at the bottom layer of everything you sign up for and securing it mandatory because it will help you recover, monitor and reset your social media logins. I personally prefer and recommend Gmail but you might be using Yahoo, Outlook and something else but make sure your email provider has something called Two-factor Authentication.
First you must give your email address a secure password and by secure I mean something that is longer than 8 characters, doesn’t have your name, Bae’s name, your pet’s name and anything obvious. Make sure your password has at least one Capital letter, one small letter, a number and a symbol which should turn out as something like “1Bloody$andletter” (Please never use this example and any password that is listed on this list). It is also important that your security question and answers are something complex which a clever hacker can not guess.
Well everyone has a password no matter how insecure it is but TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION (2FA) is an extra step everyone should take. Traditionally passwords are based on the model of ‘who you are?’ and ‘what you know?’ which is loosely your username and password respectively. But Two-factor authentication goes a step further by asking you for ‘what you have?’
This adds a 3rd layer for security in case someone got a hold of your password and username because it requires you to insert a code which is usually sent to you by sms. Or you can set up a two-factor authentication (2FA) code using an app like Authy or Google Authenticator. These apps generate a random code that is in sync with Facebook, Google, WordPress, or any online service so that you use two factor authentication.
You can now laugh when you get a message on your phone for a 2FA code for Facebook yet you aren’t the one logging in because you still have control until you change your password.
Forget about the minor inconvenience you get with the extra step and think about the inconvenience you would get when your angry ex-lover tries to login into your Twitter or Facebook.
A moment of silence for your social media account is worse than a few seconds of delay.
The first step is adding Two-Factor authentication to your email by going to account settings and security, then implement it on all your social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and add this extra layer of security. Here are the steps to setting up 2FA on the commonest social networks; Facebook, Twitter, WordPress.com, Gmail and others
But before we think two-factor authentication is the ultimate solution, we have to think about some idiot proof techniques for internet security such as not telling your password to anyone, not writing your password down and installing a good antivirus on your computer.
Today the online con-man got a little brilliant and there are more techniques to make the ordinary user think they are visiting a genuine website through phishing attacks. Phishing websites usually come from funny links that try to resemble the original domain name of the social network and once you visit them they ask you to re login and store your password on a hacker’s server somewhere.
Please avoid links that ask you to see a photo you missed, something awesome (like really), an offer someone sent you and all and stay away from those “hot” ladies and ‘princes’ in refugee camps with “millions of dollars” that their Uncles left them.
It is always important to make sure you access your social media websites from url that start with https:// and not http:// this will help you avoid phishing attacks and typing your password in the wrong places.
Please, for heaven’s sake try to use the official apps of your social network only unless you are using a verified or re-known 3rd party clients such as TweetDeck, tweetbot which are okay but make sure the app you are using is made by the Owners of any particular social network.
Online security is always changing and becoming a disappointment to some users whose web services get hacked, but it is best to secure your social media on a personal level by having strong passwords, using two-factor authentication, being vigilant.
Remember you might complain that a lot of security might seem like an inconvenience but convenience makes compromise simple.