Simple tips to secure your social media accounts

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram

All the major social media platforms have this security feature and you should enable yours if you haven’t already.

Photo credit: Lionel Bonaventure | AFP

What you need to know:

  • The first measure is enabling two-step authentication on all your accounts. This adds another extra security feature to your accounts beyond just the username and password. 
  • On Facebook, you can stop scammers from tagging you in their nefarious posts by changing the privacy settings in your account. 

In recent weeks, I have come across many complaints of supposedly “hacked” social media profiles where people have ended up with very embarrassing posts on their accounts.

In some instances, users have had their accounts completely taken over by hackers who then send direct messages to close friends and family soliciting money. 

Another overwhelmingly popular ruse is the use of the tagging function on Facebook, where users are seemingly automatically tagged in posts with pornographic content through a friend’s account and this shows up on their Facebook walls. 

The good thing is that there are simple steps you can take to ensure you stay in control of your social media profiles. 

The first measure is enabling two-step authentication on all your accounts. This adds another extra security feature to your accounts beyond just the username and password. 

Under this security measure, a code is sent from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to your phone number via text every time you log in to your account.

This implies that when enabled, a hacker who supposedly has your correct logins would still need to access your SMS inbox in order to succeed. 

All the major social media platforms have this security feature and you should enable yours if you haven’t already.

Scammers mostly gain access to your accounts through phishing, a technique where they reach you, usually via email, posing as legitimate social media platforms.

If you are not cautious, you can easily lose your key credentials through phishing. 

You can protect yourself from losing access to your accounts through phishing by being extra cautious with how you deal with what lands in your inbox, including links.

Be keen on the email address used to send the email. If, for example, an email purporting to be from Facebook is addressed to you using Gmail, Yahoo or any other domain other than ‘...facebook.com’, then that is definitely a red flag. 

It also pays to keep yourself updated on the various ways in which phishing scams are instigated so that you can identify and avoid them whenever they come for you. 

On Facebook, you can stop scammers from tagging you in their nefarious posts by changing the privacy settings in your account. 

Open ‘Settings and Privacy’, then scroll down and open ‘Profile and tagging’. From here you should see settings on who can post on your profile. You can change this to ‘Only me’ so that you have more control over your privacy. 

On the same page, you see an option on ‘Tagging’. This gives you the option to control who can see posts that you're tagged in on your profile.

Change this to your preference although the ‘Only Me’ option gives you more privacy. 

The last and most important option on this page is ‘Reviewing.’ I strongly recommend that you enable the option written ‘Review posts that you're tagged in before the post appears on your profile’.

This gives you control over what appears on your profile. Most importantly, do not click on any suspicious links.

[email protected]; @Sang_254 

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