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Protecting Your Online Identity: Practical Tips for Securing Your Social Media Accounts

Written By: Stephanie Donahue, Vice President of Communications

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. With the rise of social media platforms, the importance of securing our online presence has also increased. The LastPass breach at the end of 2022 highlights our vulnerability, even as we strive to use best practices and take advantage of security tools to help. Social media accounts are particularly vulnerable to hacking and unauthorized access, as they contain a vast amount of personal information. In this blog, we will discuss some practical tips to improve security around your social media accounts.

  1. Use strong passwords and/or passwordless authentication: The first and most crucial step to secure your social media accounts is to use strong passwords. Avoid using passwords that are easy to guess, such as your name, birthdate, or pet's name. Instead, use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. It is also recommended to use different passwords for different social media accounts. Passwordless authentication, such as Apple Face ID, is recommended when it is available. Consider using tools like 1Password to track your passwords in a secure way.

  2. Enable two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your social media accounts. It requires a user to provide a second form of authentication, such as a code sent via SMS or an authentication app, in addition to the password. This can prevent unauthorized access even if your password is compromised.

  3. Keep your privacy settings up to date: Social media platforms offer various privacy settings that allow users to control who can see their posts, photos, and personal information. It is important to keep these settings up to date and adjust them based on your preferences. You can also limit the visibility of your profile to specific people, such as friends and family, to reduce the risk of being targeted by strangers.

  4. Be cautious of suspicious links and messages: Social media platforms are often used by cybercriminals to spread malware and phishing links. Be cautious of messages from unknown people and avoid clicking on links that seem suspicious or ask for personal information.

  5. Update your software and apps: It is important to keep your social media apps and software up to date. The latest updates often include security fixes that can help protect your account from vulnerabilities.

  6. Avoid sharing sensitive information: Avoid sharing sensitive information such as your full name, phone number, or home address on social media platforms. This information can be used by cybercriminals to steal your identity or conduct targeted attacks.

  7. Regularly monitor your account activity: Regularly monitoring your social media account activity can help you detect unauthorized access or suspicious activity. Keep an eye out for any changes to your account settings, messages sent from your account, or new friend requests from unknown people. Deprecate /delete accounts you no longer monitor or use.

  8. Verify your accounts - if you own accounts where your information is shared with a large number of people, especially those you consider to be outside of your immediate friends and acquaintances, consider having your account verified to prevent impersonation. An example of this verification is Twitter Blue. Facebook and Instagram are also testing a similar program.

In conclusion, securing your social media accounts is essential to protect your personal information from cyber threats. By following these tips, you can enhance the security of your social media accounts and reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.

We’ve updated our social media guidelines for our chapters. You can find these in the Phi Rho portal.

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