4 Ways to Avoid Social Media Hackers


Prepare to arm yourself, because all businesses, big or small, and their social media accounts are susceptible to hacking. Earlier this year, hackers infiltrated the social media accounts of large media organizations like “The Guardian,” “France24,”  the White House, the Associated Press, Thomson Reuters, and even satirical news organization, “The Onion.”

As social media surges in popularity, so too does the ability to hack these accounts. This especially affects businesses as they use these accounts to connect with their customer bases, and any compromise of these accounts could result in possible irreparable damage to a brand.

Luckily, there are things businesses can do to arm themselves against cyber criminals. Here are four of the most important ways.

1. Educate your employees.

Perhaps the most important way to prevent someone from hacking your business’ social media accounts is to educate your employees on all of the dangers involved and the ways to avoid compromising situations. Whether this is via a handbook, email, or seminar, ensure that your employees arm themselves with the knowledge that can save your business’ social media accounts from unnecessary hacking.

2. Use strong and unique passwords.

Using a child or pet’s name may be easy for you and your employees to remember, but that does not bode well for sensitive business social media accounts. It is extremely important for employees, particularly those who have access to your business accounts, to have a more unique and difficult password to hack.

Use capital letters, numbers, and punctuation, when allowed, to vary a memorable password, or use a password randomizing service that creates one for you. It might take time for you to remember the new password, but it is well worth the ensured security in the long run.

Also, do not use the same password across multiple accounts. Should hackers access any one account, you are now granting them access to all your accounts with the same password.

Finally, change passwords every few months. This helps prevents hackers from accessing all of your sensitive business information. Ensure all your employees comply with these password regulations and have protocols set in place if need be.

3. Ensure you and your employees do not click links from unknown sources.

Interaction with customers is crucial to the success of social media for businesses. However, sometimes a hacktivist customer comes along and intends to disrupt your social media presence. This happens when someone sets up an innocuous-looking link that, when clicked, hacks personal information including usernames and passwords.

Many customers you don’t personally know will share links and other content with your business’ social media profiles, and most of them will be as harmless as they seem. It can be difficult to weed out the suspicious messages, links, videos, and so on, but the best thing to do is to go with your gut. If this link is from someone you trust, it’s likely fine. If it’s from someone new, has a hidden link from a bit.ly type of program, or “promises” you something, there’s a chance it could be unsafe for your business.

4. Check your applications.

Sometimes your business will use various applications, like TweetDeck or HootSuite, to help make it easier for you to interact with customers and monitor your accounts. These apps can be great for business and your social media success, but you need to keep an eye on them to ensure that they don’t put you at risk for hacking or malware, as this is a common way for hackers to intervene.

When you change passwords for your social media accounts, do the same for your apps. Delete apps that you either no longer use or you don’t recognize, and never sign up for an app without researching it first.

These are just a few ways that your business can protect itself and its social media profiles from skilled hackers. Ensure your employees follow these guidelines carefully, and you can rest easy knowing that your business is that much safer.