Internet has been so good that it has thrown away the old living where you have to travel far away to meet with your friend, family or relative. Now you can stay in your house, office, school and even on the go and you will be communicating with a friend either through social media chats, video call etc.
Social media has become part of the fabric of how we go about our daily lives, and has affected how we work and communicate. Social media platforms are being used today not only for personal networking, but also plays an important role in gathering relevant market information for organizations who are seeking to secure a place in both the traditional and digital marketplace.
The power of social media encompasses communications, connections, and how we gather news, stories, and other pieces of information. However, as we all know, social media is not without risks. With the whole world as your potential audience, anybody can see what you’re doing, what you’re up to, and even know your whereabouts. With the many high-profile hacks taking center stage in recent years, it’s about time to be aware of what you put out there, and to start developing safe and secure online habits when it comes to protecting your social media.
Because trends and technologies constantly change and evolve, it’s difficult to summarize a set of defined best practices. Nonetheless, security should be your main concern as it is very easy for cybercriminals to use your online information for profit. As such, i have created a couple of privacy and security tips below on how you can improve your security and privacy on your social media accounts.
Top Security Measures
1. Stop using one or the same password for all your social media account: See the reason (My story)
Although we all want convenience that we don’t want to always crack our brains to remember the password we used for a particular account, instead we want to use the same password for every account for easy remembrance, it is always very advisable not to use the same password for all your accounts. You want to know the reason? Cool, continue and read my story of experience.
On this day 15th of November, 2014, I traveled to my village to enjoy Sunday rice cooked by my mother. Earlier to this date, I have used same password for my email account and one of my old website. Back then, I was new to web development and I knew little or nothing about security. During that time and exactly that date, that my website that I developed with amateur knowledge got hacked. You can agree with me that websites can always be hacked, even government websites get hacked talk more of mine then. What are my saying? Am saying that the email and password that I used for the website was just exactly the same for my email account (I used the same password for my website and my email account). Immediately the hacker got this information through my website, the first thing he/she did was to check out if the email address and password corresponds with my email account, and fortunately for him/her, that was it. He/she was able to login.
How I knew? It started and happened that I was in my village that day, and I only came to eat Sunday rice and leave immediately. As I was bouncing on the rice, I received an SMS on my non-internet enabled phone, a Nokia product. First, I thought it was MTN Nigeria that sent the SMS which is their normal thing. I now relaxed and continued bouncing on the rice. Just after 3 minutes I received another SMS, this time I have to check and know the content. As I picked up my phone, the sender was Google, in my mind, Google this hot afternoon? I opened the first SMS, it read “Account Notification: Your account was recently logged in from…..at…..”. Ohhh!, I screamed, but not to end there, I checked the second message, it read “Account Notification: The password for your Google Account ….@gmail.com was recently changed. google.com/password”. This time around, I included blood of Jesus in my screaming.
I now started looking for solution, at least let me recover it. I opened my laptop, the battery was already down. That is the wickedness of Simple Server free browsing. I rushed to my internet enabled phone, it was down too. And you know village matters, PHCN was never dreaming of restoring electric power and I just came in, I did not buy petrol for our power generator. What a world? In my heart, this can’t happen.
I have to leave the rice and take to my heels. On my way going out to charge up my laptop, I remembered that I won some cash and the details was in the inbox. Oh my… I almost collapsed on the road.
To cut it short, thanks be to God, the hacker was clueless enough and he forgot to do one thing which had it been he/she did, the case will just end.
Also, thanks to the smartness of the great Internet Company Google. They helped me in bringing the whole issue to a calm. And after everything I own my accounts now.
You want to dare me? You can’t, I can no longer be hacked because Almighty is now involved. And I now use different passwords which I can’t even remember for all my accounts.
If you are reading this, you are lucky to be here, I urge you to go on now and change your passwords to entirely different combinations. Do you well to share this for others to learn.
2. Don’t use weak password: This is my password “m7_8hydNigeria^.com*!!6@5”. See the reason (My story)
Note: The only secure password is the one you can’t remember
Let’s assume you log onto a bunch of different websites; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail, eBay, PayPal probably some banking, may be a few discussion forums and probably much more.
Do your passwords always use different character types such as uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation? Are they “strong”?
If you can’t answer “yes” to this question, you’ve got yourself a problem. But the thing is, there is simply no way you can remember all your unique, strong passwords and the sooner you recognise this, the sooner you can embrace a more secure alternative.
Don’t tell me that your name is John Smith and your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and coming to your social media account like Facebook, your login details is
Email or Phone: email@example.com
Password: “john” or “smith” or “johnsmith” or even johnsmith1. Don’t even try that.
Now my story…
I used to use my name as my PC password. One day, I had only 30% battery left, and I really want to use the PC for something very important. I now shutdown the PC and left. When I came back, I saw my roommate using the PC and the battery now remains 10%. I wanted to get mad but I could not.
How were you able to unlock the PC, I asked. He said that he just typed my name and voila my PC unlocks.
It was too bad. What is now the essence of locking it before. I really felt a novice.
Please, if you are still doing this, please stop and start using strong passwords like “m7_8hydNigeria^.com*!!6@5”
3. Don’t click “Remember me” or Remember password in public computer. If your password is saved, is a pity
Whenever you are on a public computer such as a cyber cafe, don’t click or check the “Remember me/Keep me logged in” check box.
And also whenever you input your password and hit enter key, you may notice a prompt i.e a popup requesting you to choose if you want the browser (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome etc.) to save your password. Please, click “Not Now” or “Never”.
Do you know that if you accepted to save your password, any computer savvy that comes in can easily check and see your password. You want to know how? See image below.
4. Stop being a Phishing Victim. Don’t click or Login from every link you see.
Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
For example, if someone sent you a mail with the Subject “BVN Update” and when you open the message it requested you to click on a link similar to your bank’s official website, please don’t click unless you are very sure that it is your bank’s official address. And if eventually you clicked, they will take you to a page exactly as your bank’s own with a similar URL. Here, they will request for some of your sensitive information like your ATM number and pin so that they can update your information. That is a lie, it’s a scam. Please don’t fall for it. Always verify the URL of the page before you do any update because once you enter anything, it will enter their database.
Again, they might come for your Facebook account. Here they will send you a link similar to that of Facebook and when you open it you will see a page designed exactly as that of Facebook. They will request for your email and password. If you enter those details and click login, your login details is going to their database. So, always verify the URL and make sure that it is https://www.facebook.com before you login.
5. Leaving your mobile devices insecure.
If your mobile devices are linked to your social media accounts, make sure that these devices are password protected in case they are lost or stolen.
With all these tips, I hope I have been able to convince and change your mind towards social media;
If you find this guide helpful, do well to share it for the benefit of others.