While the Internet can be a wonderful place to connect with people and knowledge, it can be scary place. I’m often asked how folks can keep safe on the Internet and particularly on social media. Have to be honest, it is a tall order and takes diligence on your part.
What types of hacking do you need to be aware of?
Often it comes down to social engineering, which is basically the art of manipulating people into giving up the information. And most people don’t know they have been hacked.
There are a few you need to be aware of:
Phishing: If guessing your password doesn’t get them in, the next best method for a hacker is to flat out ask for your credentials through phishing. It’s extremely common and a lot more successful than you’d think. A link is sent by email or through social media either from a friend or sometimes from someone claiming to be an official. The link will usually take you to a page that looks like Facebook or Twitter and ask you to enter your credentials.
More sophisticated attacks can even take it a step further and hijack your active credentials just by clicking on a link. And these attacks don’t have to be through social media. If your e-mail gets hacked and you use the same password for Facebook and Twitter, now all three are compromised.
Keylogging: A more serious method is through intrusion like a keylogger, worm or something that watches you not from the Internet but rather locally on your computer. This is way more dangerous because it could be recording all your keystrokes, meaning any interaction you have with the computer, be it bank, social media, work credentials, etc., are compromised.
Likejacking: This is when a dodgy site posts Facebook’s “Like” button, but it’s actually a way to spread a worm or other program.
Clickjacking: This is when a spammer posts crazy videos and such causing people to clink links. Usually the spammer is getting paid by the number of page views.
Prevention is Best.
So how do you prevent a hacking of your email and social accounts?
There are so simple tips to keep your information safe:
- Change your password frequently. And don’t use “1234.”
- Don’t have the same password for everything. Mix it up.
- Change the email you use for social media sites. Don’t use your primary email.
- Turn on the https// in your browser for Facebook and Twitter. Enable all security features.
- Don’t accept friend requests on Facebook from people you don’t know.
- Use a VPN when using unsecured public WiFi connections on all of your devices that includes tablets and smart phones.
But what if you are hacked?
There are steps you take to take back your accounts. While these steps are for Facebook, most social networks work the same.
If you are hacked, here’s what you can do:
- Change your password. If you have multiple accounts using the same password, change all of them. I can’t say this enough, but ideally all your passwords should be unique and difficult to guess.
- Report yourself to Facebook. Facebook has pages where you can report being hacked.
- Purge any apps or permissions you don’t recognize.
- Delete any tweets, messages, wallposts, etc., that weren’t made by you. Take screenshots of them first for your records, especially if it’s a business account that’s been hacked.
- Run a malware scan of your physical computer and make sure your system is fully up to date.
- Log out of your account then clear your private data in your browser and log in again using new credentials.
While hacks can’t be completely prevented, you can make it hard on the hackers and spammers.