Social media has grown to be a substantial part of all of our lives. With the joy we receive from it, it is key to stay mindful of the risks that are ever-present. Hackers are prominent in our media-focused society and the constant fear that our personal information is available to the world is scary. There are many things you can do to be aware of some common signs associated with hacking but also what to do after they have gained access.

What can social hacks look like?

  • Posts that appear on your feed that you didn’t post
  • Can’t log into your account
  • Notifications that someone is logged into your account at the same time or from an unknown location
  • Lots of new connections or accounts on your feed
  • Messages from friends in response to something you didn’t send

What to do after a social hack

Most times when hacks happen, you won’t know until it’s too late. They can happen to all types of accounts and come in many shapes and sizes.

Here is an example of a typical hack:
A direct social media message containing an image was received from what seemed like a family member. The headline read, “Hey, Look at this old picture of you”. Soon after came an onslaught of messages from other friends, who texted back, “I think you’ve been hacked!”

Steps to take after a hack

  • Change your password right away
    • If your password has been changed talk to the site’s support centre
  • Remove any posts, new followers and message any friends/followers that were messaged
    • Make a post warning friends and followers to be wary of anything sent/posted recently
  • Report the incident to the social media provider

How to protect from a future hack

Enable multi-factor authentication, if it’s available. Multi-factor authentication will use two or more ways of verifying that you are the only person logging into your account. Use additional methods such as a pin number, fingerprint, facial ID or email/text verification. Different sites use these to ensure only you can access your profiles.

Check the privacy/permission settings and adjust them to what makes you comfortable. Adjustable permissions are a new area where users are able to control who sees what and what they can see publicly and privately. It’s not as simple as blocking someone or unfriending them. Whether you’ve just joined, or have been a user for a while, make sure to log onto your account and adjust your privacy settings. Check periodically, since new settings are often added over time.

Use complex and different passwords. Remembering passwords for all of your accounts can be difficult but writing them down in a safe place is a good way to manage them. Using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters adds to the complexity of your password. It is key to always change your passwords for different accounts. Even adjusting numbers, case or special characters can help in keeping passwords similar but still different. It may take you an extra few seconds to login but it all adds to the overall security of your accounts.

Remember to not click on links in social media posts, direct messages, or download attachments unless the sender is trustworthy. Links and downloads are the most common methods hackers use to steal account credentials and download malware to your device. If you don’t know the sender or something seems off, just delete it.

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© The Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved.
This article is for informational purposes only. All recommendations are general guidelines and are not intended to be exhaustive or complete, nor are they designed to replace information or instructions from the manufacturer of your equipment or software. Contact your equipment service representative or manufacturer with specific questions. Under no circumstances shall HSB BI&I or any party involved in creating or delivering this article be liable for any loss or damage that results from the use of the information or images contained in or linked to in this article.

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