Even with all of the security features available today, hackers find ways to access our online accounts. And with their growing popularity, social networking sites have become rich targets for cyber criminals. To help their users stay safe, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook offer valuable advice, which we are sharing with you here.
Twitter helps protect users by locking accounts for one hour after too many incorrect login attempts. Still, Twitter recommends that you create a unique, strong password for each website you use. That way, if one account is compromised, the rest should remain safe. (In general, strong passwords are your first—and best—line of defense for guarding against online predators.)
Here are some tips for creating strong passwords:
- Use a word (or words) not found in the dictionary.
- Use a random arrangement of capital and lowercase letters.
- Use a mixture of letters and numbers (e.g., the numeral “1” instead of the letter “I” or the numeral “5” instead of the letter “S”).
Keep in mind that a password alone is not enough. Be sure to enable multifactor authentication (aka two-step verification) so that you have at least two forms of account protection working together. This additional form of verification could be an e-mail, text message, or app push notification to ensure that the user logging into your account is really you.
Other guidelines for protecting yourself on Twitter include:
- Watch out for suspicious links.
- Always be sure that you’re on Twitter.com before entering your login information.
- Do not give out your username and password to unknown third parties.
- Be sure that your computer is updated with the most recent patches and antivirus software.
If you think that your account has been compromised, visit Twitter’s My Account Has Been Compromised page to find out how to fix it.
LinkedIn—increasingly popular among hackers
LinkedIn, the professional social networking site, has more than 450 million users, all of whom provide some personal information about where and with whom they work and where they went to school. The site urges you to:
- Think carefully about the information you reveal.
- Connect only with people whom you know and trust.
Protecting your information, the Facebook way
Facebook encrypts all sensitive information using TLS technology and provides secure login pages. It also offers security tips that everyone should follow:
- Never open suspicious links, even if they are from a friend!
- If you don’t know what it is, don’t paste it into your browser’s address bar.
- When in doubt, change your password.
- Never give out your username or password.
- Be sure that you are logging into Facebook.com and not a fake site set up by a hacker.
- Update your browser when new versions become available.
- Run antivirus software.
Facebook also offers great opt-in security features. Learn about them in the Facebook Help Center.
Mounting the best defense
Although Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have taken strides to protect users and information, nothing is guaranteed. By following the tips outlined here and ensuring that your passwords—for every online account you have—are of adequate strength, you’ll significantly reduce your chances of falling victim to a cyber attack.