People have grown accustomed to putting a significant amount of trust in their social media accounts, and influencers are no different. The web is now treated as a personal store of intimate data, ripe for the picking by any aspiring hacker who wants to make a name for himself.
This particular problem is amplified further with influencers, as their large audiences make them especially vulnerable to targeted attacks.
Because of this, individuals with a large public profile have to take strong measures to ensure that their accounts are secure. This guide should help provide the information necessary to help influencers prevent attacks on their social media accounts.
Avoid the best entry point: fingerprint sensors
Until the popularization of smartphones in the 21st century, cellular device technology had not yet reached the point where phones could store a large repository of intimate information. Now that smartphones have large storage capacity and instant one-tap access to multiple online accounts, they might actually be more dangerous than they were in the past.
This is particularly true of smartphone users who choose to use fingerprint scanning to easily authenticate into phones.
In a 2015 interview with CBS Evening News, Jan Krissler, a well-known hacker in Germany, demonstrated how he was able to extrapolate the fingerprint of German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen using high-resolution images and create a fake “copy” that could be worn on another person’s finger to access her phone.
“The whole security of the [fingerprint recognition] system relies on keeping something secret that isn’t secret because you show it all around every time,” he said.
Influencers should not be using any form of biometric authentication and instead should rely on tried-and-true methods like PIN numbers and passwords to unlock their phones. Phone theft can be devastating otherwise if the thief knows who the device belongs to.
Enable two-factor authentication
Keeping a social media account safe has more to do with redundant security than setting a password. The login credentials of an account shouldn’t be the only layer available.
A password set by the user is often irreversibly encrypted using a special hash (the password’s “signature”), and then that hash is stored in a database. However, once the hash is discovered during an attack, it can then possibly be used to log in to the account that it belongs to.
To prevent this, influencers must choose to use two-factor authentication. It may present an inconvenience, making login times longer, but it will fortify the account from people who either guess or acquire its password.
Most social media sites like Twitter and Facebook conveniently provide their users with the means to integrate two-factor authentication into their accounts. Usually, this involves sending a code via SMS to the phone belonging to the account’s holder that they must then input into a form.
Avoid storing sensitive information in social media networks that do not offer this authentication method.
Don’t share passwords between accounts, ever!
A common practice among many people is to use the same password for different accounts. It’s a particularly bad idea, and more so for influencers.
It may be inconvenient, but sharing passwords between accounts will often lead to a ripple effect. If one social network or other service is attacked and passwords get leaked, the hackers involved can simply use the same password to get into other accounts.
Password managers make the process of using unique passwords for each account easier, but aren’t completely ironclad. Changing passwords once in a while helps solidify account security even further.
Take as much information as possible offline
Influencers that have intimate details about themselves on a social media page should take it offline whenever possible. Things like addresses, phone numbers, and even password lists can be discovered quite easily if they’re anywhere on the web.
It’s safer to use a password manager than keep a list of passwords for different accounts in a file on a cloud service. The former specializes in securing information while the latter specializes more towards storage.
The more information on an individual appears online, the more easily it may leak. In the social media era, the words “better safe than sorry” are especially valid.
A few cases of minor inconvenience can save influencers from hacks and potential embarrassment. In terms of opportunity cost, it’s absolutely worth it to follow through with these measures.