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5 Steps You Need To Take If You're On Social Media

Like all cybercrimes, social engineering is a business for hackers and one that can have drastic impacts on the lives' of those who fall victim. So what exactly is social engineering? And how can you ensure that you are protected online? With the continuing growth of both new and existing social media platforms, it's important to implement these five steps to avoid getting hacked online. First and foremost, what is social engineering? Social engineering is a cybercrime in which social media hackers, known as "social engineers", break into social media accounts or email address to extract and exploit personal information. Social engineers often target large accounts or celebrities with large followings to hold these accounts for ransom or, if the ransom is refused, these social engineers will wipe the account clean of content and sell them with their existing followers to someone else. But even if you are not a celebrity or do not have a large following, you are most definitely still at risk. Think about how many apps and how much information you give access your social media accounts access to: your camera, microphone, photos, videos, location, credit card information, financial information, and pretty much everything else that is stored on your phone. So, in short, if you're on social media, you're at risk of being hacked and having your personal information and identity stolen. But, the good news is is you can take actionable steps to prevent these things from happening. Here our five steps you can take to mitigate your risk and stay safe online.

  1. Never fill out "fun" social media surveys online-- these are designed by social engineers to look innocent, but actually gain access to information about you so they can guess the answers to your security questions (ex: What street did you grow up on? What was your first pet's name? Where did you go to elementary school? etc.). The answers to questions like this will allow them to hack into your email account and once they are into your email account, prohibit you from resetting your passwords.

  2. Input fake information for security questions-- back to those security questions that you have to answer when you login to either social media accounts or your email accounts... always put in fake information so no one can guess them correctly and/or look up the answers because trust me, that info is out there as public information.

  3. Double authenticate all your accounts-- this is a simple thing you can do under your privacy settings for any and all social media accounts. Add an extra layer of security so every time someone tries to login to your account, the social media platform will prompt you for a code that will be immediately sent to your phone or an authentication app. Your password alone is not enough.

  4. Do not duplicate passwords-- do not use your password for more than one platform. We all like to use the same password because one password is easy to remember. BUT, by doing so, you're leaving yourself vulnerable because once social engineers hack into one platform, they are into them all.

  5. Download a third-party password manager app-- with all these new passwords and fake info to keep you extra secure, you have to be secure in managing it all. Download a third-party password manager app to your Smart Phone, such as LastPass, to stay organized, store your passwords in a highly secure vault, and for easy-convenience, only have to remember one Master password.


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