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How to Keep Your Social Networking Accounts Safe from Hackers

Last month, both Burger King and Jeep had their Twitter accounts hacked. In both cases, the hackers posted that the companies had been sold to their competitors (Burger King to McDonald’s and Jeep to Cadillac) and posted a series of damaging and obscene messages. While the story might appear funny to the average person, the truth is that social networking hacking represents a very real threat to companies of all sizes.

If your Twitter, Facebook, or other social networking profile gets hacked, all sorts of false, harmful information can be spread about your brand. Your audience could become confused, misled, or even angry at your company, so there is very real damage that can be done from hacking.

That’s why it’s so important that you do everything you can to prevent being hacked. Is there a foolproof system in place to keep your accounts from being hacked? Of course not. But there are measures you can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim yourself.

  1. Choose complex passphrases—Rather than using a single word as your password, use an entire short phrase. For example, you might use a short quote or a favorite line from a poem as inspiration for your passphrase. Of course, you want to include numbers and randomly capitalized letters in your passphrase to make it as strong as possible.
  2. Don’t use the same password for everything—Don’t use the same password for your Twitter account that you use for your Facebook page. And definitely don’t use the same password that is attached to your email address because you don’t want hackers to get that. Use a different password for every account you have, so that if one of them does get hacked, the damage doesn’t spread any farther than it has to.
  3. Limit the number of people who have these passwords—You might have multiple people at your company who manage your social networking accounts. That’s okay, but you have to be careful to ensure that only those who need your passwords have them. The more people that have your password, the likelier it is that it will get mishandled and get in the wrong hands.
  4. Reset your passwords regularly—You should reset your passwords every month or two to lower the risks of your accounts getting hacked. Again, refer to the prior steps for choosing and managing your new passwords.
  5. Beware of fake login screens—Hackers are very crafty. They create fake login screens that you can get redirected to whenever you click certain spammy links or visit certain pages. These screens may look like a normal Twitter login screen, but they’re designed to get your account information. Always double check the URL of the page before you login.
  6. Use popular, trusted apps for managing your social media accounts—There are a lot of great apps out there that make it easier for you to manage all of your social networking activities. Of course, the more places you login, the greater your chances of getting hacked. That’s why it’s important to use trusted, reputable apps, like Hootsuite and TweetDeck.

 

Have you ever been hacked? Have any additional tips to help keep it from happening? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below. 

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three free ebooks, including the Big Press Release Book and Twitter Tactics, here: http://www.ereleases.com/insider/freebooks.html

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