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27 Jun 2018

What to do if your social media gets hacked

Online accounts including social media and email platforms have become yet another way for cyber criminals to target both individuals and businesses.

Recent statistics highlight that as many as 1 in 5 social media accounts will be hacked at some point. As the majority of individuals have more than one account, there’s a high chance that everyone will experience hacking at least once in the near-future. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to be aware of how you can protect yourself and your online data, and ensure that should you ever be hacked, you know how to gain full control over your accounts.

The reward for hackers

Gaining access to online accounts gives hackers the opportunity to share spam content from your profile or even take your personal information, which can then be used to steal your identity. Furthermore, if you use the same password for more than one account, hackers can use this to gain control of each and every one of them and continue their path of destruction.

How do you know you’ve been hacked?

It’s not always easy to tell if someone else has taken control of one of your accounts, however, one key indication is not being able to log in. If this happens to you, it’s important to first clarify whether it’s a password issue by double checking what you’re typing and also attempting to log in on an alternative device. Another warning sign is receiving email alerts. Many services will send you messages about changes to your account including when the username/ password is changed, and any suspicious activity, such as when your account is logged in on a new device.

What to do if you get hacked?

Raise the alarm!

If you’re not able to log in to your account, immediately get in touch with the social media company and tell them that you’ve been hacked.

Change your password

As soon as you have access to your account, you should change your password. The new code should be completely new, and if you have been using the old password for multiple accounts, change the password to a unique code for each account.

Check recent activity

It’s important to check your account for any unsolicited activity. This could include the sending of messages, new posts and updates to your timeline or feed, and your account being used on new and unknown devices. If any private or direct messages have been sent, contact those who receive them directly to tell them what happened and not to click on any hyperlinks. The majority of online accounts allow you to view a list of all of the devices where you’re logged in. This feature can be found within the security settings, and allows you to log out of other active sessions - click to see your current active sessions for Facebook, Google and Twitter. If the breach affects an email service, it’s a good idea to check the account for sent messages or new filters - hackers can set up filters that forward all incoming mail to an address you don’t recognise, or even delete messages. You should delete any irrelevant filters to prevent people from worming their way back into your account in the future. This is particularly important because the ability to reset the credentials of other accounts are done so over email. It’s also worthwhile reviewing the list of third-party apps that are connected to your account and delete any that you no longer use.

Run Security Checks

In order to protect against future hacking attempts, it’s important to make sure the security features within individual accounts are activated. If you have the ability to enable two-step verification, switch it on! This will help to further protect your accounts and keep any hackers at bay. You should also put in place procedures to protect your device and wider network - use the latest antivirus software and run frequent scans for malware.  

To find out how Smoothwall can protect your network from intruders, get in touch. Alternatively, please comment below with any questions.

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