5 Ways to Protect Your Brand’s Social Media Accounts

Posted: August 9, 2016

Topics: Technology

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Cyber security is usually associated with 'important' stuff like banking and business secrets. But it's important everywhere, especially if you’re in charge of branding for your business. Brands like Burger King, University of Michigan, and Jeep have had to learn this lesson the hard way. Even Mark Zuckerberg has been a victim!

Here are some simple ways to keep your social media accounts safe and secure

Use 2-factor authentication 

2-factor authentication is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to secure your accounts. When you want to log into your account you enter your password as normal. After entering your password, a code will arrive on your cell phone either in a text message or in an app. You then enter this second code and you’re given access to your account. This way even if your password gets compromised, you don't have to worry about them accessing your stuff.

2-factor is becoming increasingly popular on a variety of websites. It’s available for Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Evernote, and many others. Each service has its own methods, but the premise is the same: people need two pieces of information to log in. 

Take it easy on the authorized applications
This is a big deal for Twitter, Facebook and Google. They both let you use your account to login to other sites, mobile apps, etc. While this is convenient, some apps request too much information. You might have heard about this when Pokemon go first launched. Remember that the more information someone has about you, the more easily they can break into your accounts.

Plan for the worst
This can vary depending on the social network involved. Most social networks offer some kind of account recovery option other than your email. The most commonly used method is with a text message to your cell phone. The problem is that this is only helpful if you’ve set it up first! So make sure you have this in place before you have a problem.

Passwords are really important 
There have been several high profile password leaks in recent years, and people always say to me "Well, it's not like I have anything important on those sites anyway". While that might be true, it doesn't really address the fundamental problem: bad people now know something about you they didn't know before. It's not uncommon for people to use the same password with slight variations on all of their accounts. 

For example: Let’s pretend your Facebook pass is “abc123” but your bank password is “ABC!123”. If someone steals your Facebook password, they’ll try your Facebook password first, but they’ll also check for simple variations like added punctuation and capital letters.    

Your passwords should be as long as possible. A lot of people don't do this because it's hard to remember something like "98aerAE#$RHpO ". The good news is you don't have to! Use a pass phrase.

Most good websites let you use spaces in your passwords, so make them a whole sentence. Just make sure that it's a phrase that you'll remember but isn't too common. A line from Shakespeare is a bad idea (hackers are already starting to run common phrases from literature), but something exotic works well. Take: "The chicken barks at the purple moon" (don’t actually use that now). It’s very long but easy to remember.

Keep your wits about you
Here's a few red flags to keep in mind:

  1. Be suspicious: If you didn’t initiate an interaction, it’s more likely to be a scam. Nobody should ever be randomly contacting you and asking for your password.
  2. Regular housekeeping: Change your passwords every few months, and regularly check who has access to your accounts. The number of people with access should be minimal.

With a little due diligence, it's possible to keep your social media account safe and secure. It's important to remember that while no security is absolute, you can make yourself too much of a hassle for any would-be hackers.

This post was written by R. Mey, Web Developer at PUSH 22.