When you start advertising on a site like Facebook or Twitter, getting hacked into is probably one of the last things on your mind. This is due to the fact that few businesses that take advantage of social media to advertise are actually dealing in anything computer-based. For instance, a tech company is always on alert if they’re dealing with any type of software. But your average local business doesn’t really think about it.
Well, from recent stories floating around about big brands like Burger King and Jeep being hacked into, everyone should be a little more on alert. Just recently, their Twitter accounts were hacked into; and while no real damage was done, it does stand as a reminder that motivated individuals out there love sending malware and hijacking passwords in order to take over someone’s identity.
Whether it’s simply to throw a monkey wrench into a company’s program or to attempt to steal important financial data or money, a hacker’s purpose is always nefarious.
The Truth about the Ease of Computer Hacking
A hard truth that few want to face is that it’s incredibly easy for someone to hack into your account if they want. And what makes it even easier is that you’re far less likely to take a social account as seriously as you would your business website. If someone gets your email, they’re one step closer to hacking into your account. And if you have a password that’s related to your company or a product in any way, there are automated software programs that can hack it in a matter of minutes, using a wide variety of combinations gleaned from the information you didn’t even know you were providing. And then you get into the malware hacking, where someone sends you a seemingly innocuous link, but what you’re doing is actually installing programs on your computer that can monitor your key strokes or take shots of your screen. This is hard to avoid when advertising on Facebook or conversing on Twitter. Links aren’t always inspected because a shortened link looks strange to begin with.
There are steps you can take in order to keep yourself protected; you just have to make sure that you’re actually taking them.
5 Steps You Can Take to Avoid being Hijacked
1. Change Your Password Regularly
It’s important that you keep your password changed regularly. On big banking sites and other similar sites where you may have an account, it’s mandatory that you change your password every four to six months. This is something you should do with your social networks. Change your password at least twice a year.
2. Make Things Complicated
You may know to make your password a little more complicated than “QWERTY” or another popular, easy-to-remember password. But that still doesn’t mean the password you think is “complicated” is actually that complicated. Your password should feature numbers, letters and even symbols where applicable. It shouldn’t be related to your company, nor should it be related to your email. They should be as far apart as possible in terms of relation.
3. Don’t Click on or Open Strange Material or Links
When someone sends you something, make sure you know exactly what it is before you click it. Even if it’s coming from one of your fans, you never know when someone’s trying to install malware on your computer. Inspect the links and only follow links from people you trust.
4. Make Sure Your Email is Hidden
Giving out your email is okay as long as it’s not the main email to your account. For that email in particular, it should remain hidden. Some people creating Facebook or Twitter pages will create a new account just for the purpose. This is something you may want to try.
5. Tell Others about the Threats
If you have employees working with you, then you’re probably in the habit of teaching them about social media advertising tricks and different preferences you have. Extend this and make sure they’re aware of the dangers of hacking. With a little knowledge, everyone associated with your business can help to keep it safe.
Always remember that there are shady people out there looking to get your private information. While some of them are only doing it for kicks, others have their eye on the monetary prize. Always be safe and do what you can to guard against hacking.
Article written by: Craig Robinson, a social media enthusiast and online writer for Qwaya.