So you’ve just discovered that one of your social media accounts has been hacked. You might be thinking to yourself, why on Earth would anyone hack my social media account? After all, there’s nothing of value there, right?Think again. There can be a number of reasons why someone would want to hack into your social media account, and not all of them are readily apparent. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make it harder for someone to break into your social media.

One reason somebody might want to break into your social media account is to find out who your friends are. Maybe they’re looking for information on someone you know. Maybe they’re looking for information on you. On a typical social media account, though, there’s a gold mine of information about you, if you use your real name and real information on your account.Why would they care about this info?  It could just mean that they want to try to sell you something. Or it could mean that they’re trying to get into your bank account. Or maybe they’re trying to gather enough information to take out a credit card in your name, or they could be using social media to look for robbery victims.

Another thing that makes social media accounts valuable is this: if you have an established account with a posting history and a list of friends, but your account is not being used anymore, it is valuable to people who want to post, for example, sensationalized news stories, often known as “fake news.”  Outrage from an established account looks far more plausible than from an account that’s only been alive for a matter of hours

There are a few things you can do to minimize your chances of being a victim. The number one thing you can do is use a password manager and its built-in password generator. Whatever password generator you use, the idea behind it is that you need to know just one password: the password to get into your password database. Every other password will be randomly chosen and therefore harder to guess by someone using something called a dictionary attack, which is a type of password cracking routine which goes through a dictionary of tens of thousands of words to try to break your password. So if your password is “doggy42,” it will be broken in a matter of seconds.  Another really good idea is that if you have stopped using a social media account, use whatever system that social media platform has for closing the account. While it may or may not be the case that they actually delete any of your data, this makes it harder for a would-be attacker to get into your account if the account is closed to the outside world.

Finally, if your social media platform of choice offers two-factor authentication, especially if they have an app that goes on your mobile device which does the second layer of authentication, use it.  This means that even if somebody does manage to get that through that first layer of protection, meaning the password, you will be alerted as soon as they try to get in that they are attempting to get in and will be able to stop them from getting in.

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