5 tips for social media security and privacy
Written by a NortonLifeLock employee
Social media accounts are powerful tools in the wrong hands. We’ve recently seen hackers take over the Twitter accounts of media outlets and large corporations, using them for anything from basic spam to drawing attention to global issues. Your own accounts might seem too small to tempt scammers, but even with just a few followers your information is a valuable commodity. Read on for tips to stay safe on social networks.
Use unique passwords for each social network
It’s a pain, but it is also absolutely essential that you don’t use the same password for Twitter as you do for, say, Facebook, Instagram and other social tools. Using a single password makes it easy for hackers, as gaining access to one means gaining access to all – and imagine how painful it will be when you find you’re locked out of your entire online life. When you use one password for multiple services, you’re only as safe as the least secure service you use.
Watch your mailbox
How can these social account hacks happen? By direct messages to you. Yes, using the same approach phishers have used for years it tends to be a rogue link in a message or email, perhaps sent to look like it’s from a colleague or friend, that exposes that all-important password. Phishers will find out who you would expect to receive an email from and use that as a way in. This social engineering approach has worked on staff at major newspapers and government organisations, so don’t fool yourself into thinking hacking social network accounts must require more sophisticated techniques.
Don’t be too personal
Social engineering is where attackers use whatever information they can glean from your public profiles – date of birth, education, interests – to try to get into your accounts on all sorts of services. Just imagine how easily someone can find out the name of your first pet or school from your Facebook profile, then think about how many services use them as security questions. Keep as much of your profile private as you can, and think twice before posting absolutely every aspect of your life.
Lock your phone
It’s not only faceless scammers on the internet. Your phone can end up in the hands of a stranger, giving access to your social accounts (and more). It’s not just rogue updates: once they’re in they can obtain your email address, target your friends using your profile as bait, and even change your password. To make it as difficult as possible for an intruder, you should always enable the passcode lock on your phone, and set it to time out at no more than a few minutes.
Use the block button
When a spammer follows you and sends you links, don’t just ignore it. For the sake of others who are less well informed than you, always report the account as spam. The social networking service will monitor it and, if enough people take the same action, remove the account. It won’t stop spammers coming back with new accounts but it at least hinders their efforts.
Norton Safe Web for Facebook
Using this free app, scan your newsfeed for like-jacking scams or malicious links: Norton Safe Web scans your news feed for unsafe links and warns you of potential threats so you don’t share them with your friends.
Try Norton 360 FREE 30-Day Trial* - Includes Norton Secure VPN
30 days of FREE* comprehensive antivirus, device security and online privacy with Norton Secure VPN.
Join today. Cancel anytime.
Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.
Copyright © 2021 NortonLifeLock Inc. All rights reserved. NortonLifeLock, the NortonLifeLock Logo, the Checkmark Logo, Norton, LifeLock, and the LockMan Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NortonLifeLock Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and other countries. Firefox is a trademark of Mozilla Foundation. Android, Google Chrome, Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google, LLC. Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Microsoft and the Window logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. The Android robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
No one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime. Not all products, services and features are available on all devices or operating systems. System requirement information on norton.com.
*Important Subscription, Pricing and Offer Details:
- The price quoted today may include an introductory offer. After that, your membership will automatically renew and be billed at the applicable monthly or annual renewal price found here.
- You can cancel your subscription at my.norton.com or by contacting Member Services & Support. For more details, please visit the Refund Policy.
- Your subscription may include product, service and /or protection updates and features may be added, modified or removed subject to the acceptance of the Customer Agreement.
The number of supported devices allowed under your plan are primarily for personal or household use only. Not for commercial use. If you have issues adding a device, please contact Member Services & Support.
§ Dark Web Monitoring in Norton 360 plans defaults to monitor your email address only. Please login to the portal to review if you can add additional information for monitoring purposes.