Don't Lose Your Brand to Hackers - Tips for Smart Social Media Security
An unfortunate reality of the digital age is that identity theft is a constant threat for those that use the Internet. In a social media context, it’s not uncommon to hear of an account getting hacked by an unauthorized outsider. If someone is able to hack into a business’s Twitter or Facebook page, that could cause catastrophic damage to a brand and its virtual identity.
Rather than seeing your brand’s social media presence as a component of a larger marketing strategy, view your accounts as assets that must be protected at all costs. The risk of losing control over them due to security deficiencies can be greatly reduced, if not prevented, by embracing smart security measures.
The following tips will help ensure that you don’t fall victim to hackers on social media:
Implement Dual-Factor Authentication:
If you operate social media accounts for your business, you should seriously consider implementing some form of dual-factor authentication. What does that mean? It means adding an extra layer of security over your standard username and password requirements that only you or other authorized users can access. This will prevent outsiders from breaching your accounts.
A popular, free, and easy-to-use dual-factor app is Google Authenticator. The app generates two-step verification codes on your smartphone that that change frequently. You must have access to that current code to log into your accounts after entering your standard credentials. It also works without a data connection and can be downloaded on both iOS and Android.
Change Passwords Often:
A good rule of thumb is to consider changing your social media accounts’ passwords every quarter or so. This will not only prevent someone from logging in with an old password, but it will also keep the credentials fresh in the authorized user’s mind.
Make sure the passwords are also unique and have no obvious connection to your brand. If you run a coffee shop, your password should never be “Coffee1.” Rather, pick something easy to remember that doesn’t directly relate. This will greatly lower the chances of someone randomly guessing your password and logging in without your approval. Also, don’t use the same password for different accounts.
If you allow other company personnel to operate your business’s social media accounts, make sure that you know who is using which accounts at what time and on what device. If they are using an unprotected home computer to update your Twitter page, that could pose a serious security risk. Make sure, even if you are not operating the accounts yourself, that you are aware of who is, what they are posting, and where they are operating from.
Only Interact with Other Legitimate Accounts:
Though millions of accounts are run by real people worldwide, a great number of illegitimate or “fake” social media profiles also exist. If you are talking to someone over your brand’s social media account and feel unsure about their legitimacy, cease interacting and block that user immediately. Even if it does turn out to be a real person, you’re better off playing it safe rather than sorry.