How can you Secure your Personal Data on Social Media?

03 Apr 2018 | By Jish

Topics: Social media and data privacy


With the uproar over Facebook Inc. for mishandling user data when Cambridge Analytica, a data firm with ties to US president Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign and improperly accessing data of tens of millions of Facebook users raise doubts and debate over how well the world’s largest social networks protect its trove of user data.

You may think you’re being careful with your online data. You may feel hopeful for taking all the recommended precautions by carefully configuring your privacy settings on Facebook, go by a pseudonym on Twitter, and only connect with people you’ve actually met in person on LinkedIn. But, are you sure that your data are safe from stalkers, hackers and identity thieves?

You know, even a casual Internet user armed with some basic Google search skills can piece together information about you. Here are a few questions to analyse your online security. 

  1. Have you ever used the same username or pseudonym at more than one website?
  2. How many online accounts and profiles have you abandoned are still online, giving out information about you?
  3. Did you ever delete that old MySpace profile?
  4. Do you have any email accounts that are not in use?

Using only a few basic online search techniques, any interested party can put together a lot of revealing information about you and the details of your life.

What are the different ways that a hacker can utilise your data?

  • It can be used to file false worker’s compensation claims
  • Steal your Social Security benefits
  • Get fake passports
  • Put their medical bills in your name
  • Give your information for their speeding, tickets or crimes
  • Steal money from your bank accounts.
  • Get the details of your shopping accounts or even have banking information
  • Gain access to the corporate networks if your social media is linked to your work email
  • It can be used to register on another site
  • Sometimes to harass you

These types of thefts can be much harder to spot than you’d imagine.

How can you protect yourself while still taking advantage of the benefits of social media and modern technology?

The different social media platforms have security features that you should take advantage of.

Here are some tips for keeping your accounts secure:

  • Close the social media accounts that you no longer use. Hackers can leverage these and access other accounts linked to it, like your email. 
  • Check what apps are connected to your social media. Do you use Facebook or Google to sign in for any other applications? Assess if this type of access is necessary.
  • Practice good password habits. Use different passwords for your social media accounts, and also make sure each password is complex and unusual.
  • Enabling 2FA or "Two Factor Authentication" for all your accounts can prevent unauthorised parties from accessing your accounts.
  • Keep your mobile apps updated. Make sure you have the latest version of the platform you’re using to protect you from the newest security threats. 
  • Use a unique email only for your social media accounts if possible so that hackers won’t have access to any of your valuable information.
  • Make sure you know the people you add to social media.
  • You should never, ever post details like your Social Security and driver’s license numbers and your specific location.
  • Make it a practice to log out if you’re using a public computer, but log out of private devices from time to time as well.
  • When selecting passwords use a combination of words, numbers, upper- and lowercase letters, and special characters that are easy for you to remember, but tough for other people to guess.
  • Skip common password elements like birthdates, anniversaries, and the names of your children or pets.
  • Keep passwords private by memorising them and never write them on the device itself.
  • Try to understand and become a master of all your social media accounts privacy settings.
  • Always enable the passcode lock on your phone, and set it to time out at no more than a few minutes if your phone accidentally ends up in the hands of a stranger, giving access to your social accounts and more.

Hope these tips help you to not to compromise with a hacker in any way. If you can follow these tips and more effective security solutions, then it can help you enjoy your digital life safely.