What to do when your Social Media Account is Hacked
Cases of social media accounts being hacked has been on the rise in the recent past. You will know that your social media account has been hacked if you find activities that you didn’t initiate in your account. These could be posts, private messages, following or unfollowing people and sent friend requests.
You could also get notifications of changes to your profile or password. Depending on how much private information you have shared on your accounts, you risk your identity being stolen, or the hackers getting access to your financial accounts. If you notice such malicious activities, here is what you should do.
1. Scan your device
One way hackers could have gotten their hands on your password in order to hack your social media is by injecting malware to your device. That is why the first thing you should do is to run a full virus scan on your computer. If you find any malware, make sure you remove it. Restart and rescan your computer to be sure that it is safe. This is the only way to ensure that hackers do not have access to your device any more.
2. Enhance the security of your account
After cleaning your computer, change the password to the compromised account. If you have used the username and password on other accounts, be sure to change there too. The new strong password should not be anywhere near the old one. Make it stronger by including lower case letters, capital letters, numbers and symbols. Enhance the security of the accounts by enabling the 2-Step Verification. This will ensure that you receive a unique code to your phone whenever there is a change to your accounts settings. This locks out suspicious people from your account since they can’t access the special code sent to your phone.
3. Connect through a VPN
Another way social media hackers get your information is by spying on your activity over the internet when you connect through a public Wi-Fi. You should close up this loophole by installing a VPN in your device. Ensure that you use it to connect to the internet whenever you are browsing.
So, what is VPN? This is a virtual private network that works as a safe tunnel between your device and the sites you visit. This means that your browsing history is kept private and third parties can’t spy on it, limiting chances of hackers getting your information.
4. Notify your family and friends
Your family and friends might notice the messages that they received weren’t from you. However, you shouldn’t assume this; ensure you inform them that your social media was hacked so they stay wary of clicking on suspicious emails. There are cases where hackers ask money from your contacts, warning them will ensure that they don’t send their hard-earned cash to criminals. Besides warning them, go ahead and pull down any posts that were sent by the hackers. Delete the suspicious messages and report them to the compromised social media site. If there are games or third-party apps downloaded to your account, ensure that you delete them too, including any other that you do not use.
5. Check the settings to your email account
Hackers could have changed your email settings in order to gain control of the email activities. Ensure that you check these settings and change them accordingly. Change your signature and turn off auto-responder if they have activated it. As a preventive measure, always make sure to lock your computer while you are away from your desk. In that way, having a password-protected laptop will ensure that even if you are away from your computer, other people will not be able to access your data.
6. Update the apps on your devices
Whenever apps and software developers release an update, there are enhanced security features that usually come with the update. That is why you should ensure that the apps in your devices are updated to the latest versions. There could be a notification feature whenever someone tries to log into your account from an unfamiliar location that you could miss if your app is not updated. Take advantage of enhanced security fixes to ensure that you are notified of malicious attempts to your accounts. Be sure to set your devices to auto-update so that apps are updated automatically in case you forget to update them.
Social Media Hacked! Conclusion
Do not panic if your social media is hacked as this happens to a lot of people. However, to limit the amount of information that hackers can steal from you, avoid posting your private information in your social media accounts. Too much information about you gives the hackers an easy time guessing your security question. If you notice any suspicious link or message, do not click on them, instead report them to the site so that they can stop the spread. Finally, educate yourself and your family about the importance of cybersecurity. From adults to kids, if someone is able to manage a social media a account they are also able to protect it.