How can companies protect their social media accounts from getting hacked? Name one piece of advice or software that can help.
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Check Before You Click
Most people get spammed when they click a link that is connected to an account or message, with the most popular one being “‘Did you see that picture of yourself?” Don’t click! There isn’t a picture of you being crazy; don’t worry. Change your password, and make sure it’s strong. Always evaluate accounts and tweets before you click anything!
2. Use Unique Passwords
One of the most common causes of online identity theft is using the same username and password combinations across multiple sites. If one site gets hacked, your entire Web presence will be vulnerable. If you’re a solopreneur, use a service such as LastPass
to generate secure and unique passwords for every account.
3. Have a Method for Creating Strong Passwords
Include uppercase and lowercase letters, with some numbers and special characters thrown in for good measure — but make it easy to remember. For instance, use the last four digits of an old phone number or zip code, and add in a nickname of a child or pet.
4. Hatch a Plan to Come Back
Social media sites can get hacked — it’s a fact of life. Mass hacking attacks can gain access to accounts that should be secure. So have a plan for how you’ll come back from getting hacked, and take measures to prevent it. Know where to go for help, how to respond to follow-up messages and how to make sure you don’t endanger anyone else’s accounts.
5. Maintain Complex Passwords With 1Password
1Password software (from AgileBits) creates strong, complex passwords but allows users to enter them just by remembering their own “one password.” I use it to maintain complex passwords while logging into multiple personal, business and client accounts. 1Password works with Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad and Android and integrates with Dropbox, so I can log in anywhere, anytime, from any device.
6. Set Up Great Passwords and Protect the Backdoor
Make sure you have a complex password for the Twitter account and a separate password for the email address associated with the account. In the worst-case scenario, you can click “forgot password” and get backdoor access to your account from your email address. If a hacker gets control of your account, you can immediately go in the backdoor if you control your email address.
7. Adopt Two-Factor Authentication
Many leading social media sites have optional two-factor authentication as a feature within their security settings. While all users should take advantage of this service, it is critical that businesses adopt 2FA to protect against account compromise and brand-damaging incidents (think AP Hack). The feature is phone-based and is provided by leading security companies, such as TeleSign and Symantec.
8. Create a Strong Password
The ability of malicious hackers to break or brute-force (guess) weak passwords has improved dramatically. The best way to protect your accounts is to use strong passwords — phrases that include a combination of at least 10 letters, numbers and characters and don’t include dictionary words. Software like 1Password can also dramatically improve password security.