Social media is considered a necessity for people nowadays. Tremendous benefits of social media, including making the world more closely linked than ever, lead people to neglect the critical flaw of social media: the possibility of a personal information breach. Facebook, one of the most popular social media platforms, reflects the worst example of failure to secure users’ information. In April 2018, Facebook experienced much criticism for leaking the personal information of 87 million users to a British political consulting firm called Cambridge Analytica. On September 28, 2018, Facebook announced that the personal information of nearly 50 million users worldwide had been hijacked by hackers, causing a similar mistake.
It is time for people to manage their own social media accounts lest another security breach happens in the future. Here are some ways to decrease the probability of being hacked:
1. Use complex passwords
The best way to prevent account hacking is to use long and random passwords. Having a different complicated password for each site helps to protect all of the accounts from being stolen at once when a data breach occurs. People usually relate their passwords with their name, date of birth, or the city in which they live. However, this is not a good habit since it makes one's identity vulnerable to others. Once complicated passwords are set, applications such as “LastPass” and “1Password” can keep all the passwords and data. These apps remember all the passwords for each social media account so that users don’t have to keep track of their effective but inconvenient passwords.
2. Double-check if the recovery question is strong enough.
According to a 2015 study by Google on “Some Tough Questions for Security Questions,” with a single guess, an attacker would have a 19.7 percent chance of duplicating an English-speaking user’s answer to the question, “What is your favorite food?” (It was pizza). Likewise, within 10 guesses, an attacker would have a 39 percent chance of guessing a Korean user’s answer to the question, “What is your city of birth?” However, when the user adjusts the security questions to more personal and secret ones--for example, “What is your mother’s maiden name?”or “What is the name of your first pet?” or “What was your first car?”-- the probability that an attacker will get both answers in 10 guesses is less than one percent.
3. Make use of security programs
Some of the best security options that Facebook offers are Device Audit and Two-Factor Authentication. Device Audit notifies users when their Facebook account has been accessed from an unknown device, allowing them to remove the unfamiliar device’s owner from the account. It can be found on the “Security and Login” page of the settings. Two-Factor Authentication is an option that immediately sends a code to the account’s registered phone number or email address whenever it is accessed by an unknown device. Whoever accessed the account will have to enter that code to confirm that the login attempt was legitimate. As a result, these functions act as a second barrier to prevent attackers’ from accessing the account even if they know the password.
A social media security breach can happen any time, to anyone in the world. Personal information can be protected by just following these three suggestions!