While there are a million reasons for organizations to be on social media, there are definitely a few downfalls – like the risk of getting hacked. It’s happened to some of the biggest brands, which means it could happen to you.
From reputation nightmares to major data breaches, social media hacks are no joke. Here’s how to protect your accounts and what to do in the event of a hacking emergency.
The ultimate unguessable password
The ideal password? It’s got to be completely secure and nearly impossible to forget – which is actually easier to achieve than it sounds.
Think of a phrase that is meaningful to you, and then turn that into a password. Here’s an example: If my birthday is June 1, 1980 and my name is Bob Smith, I could turn that into “MbiJ11980amniBS”.
Next, come up with a variant of that initial password for each of your accounts – or create an entirely different one!
Two-Factor Authentication could be a lifesaver
After entering your password, some online accounts will prompt you to take additional actions like inputting a verification code sent through text or email, or asking you to answer a random, previously-set question (i.e. “What was the name of your first pet?”) in order to gain access. That’s called Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Some people find 2FA a little annoying, but it’s a critical step for keeping everything safe and secure.
Anyone trying to gain access to your account will have to answer these questions – and chances are, they’ll fail miserably. Who knew your mom’s place of birth or the colour of your first car could make such an impact on your digital security!
Skip the phishing trip
According to CSO, “phishing is a method of trying to gather personal information using deceptive emails and websites”. Phishing occurs in many different forms, which means you’ve got to stay vigilant.
You might get an email from your “bank” asking for your login credentials, or you could be prompted to download a document that turns out to be malware (a.k.a. A virus). When in doubt, don’t click on unsolicited links and ignore email requests for important account details and personal information. Instead, contact the source directly yourself to make sure they’re legit.
So you’ve been hacked – now what?
First of all, don’t panic. Save your energy for changing all of your social passwords as quickly as possible. Use our password generation trick above to come up with super secure, unguessable passwords.
If you’re unable to log in, most social platforms have resources for hacking victims in their Help sections. They will provide tips and links to help you regain control of your account.
You’ll also need to find out if anyone else still has access to your account. Each platform will be able to tell you which emails are connected to your account, and Facebook even lets you know all of the locations where your account’s been accessed.
Finally, do any necessary damage control. If your hacker posted inappropriate content to your page, delete it and send out an apology explaining the situation. Most of your followers will understand – after all, it happens all the time.
Planning for a future social media hack is an important – and often overlooked – part of creating a solid digital strategy. Here’s hoping you never have to put your plan into action!