We use social media to keep up with friends, family, and colleagues; but these connections also put as at risk.

Social site creators are becoming more aware of the vulnerabilities associated with storing private user information, but we as users must also do our part to protect ourselves. This starts by being cognizant of safe security practices.

Here are four simple methods to keep your accounts secure and private.

Strengthen Your Passwords

It does not take much time for a determined hacker to break into an account ‘secured’ by a simple password. With personal password security, the goal is to limit access to a sole user – yourself. Strengthen your authentication with these best practices (while still remembering your password):

  • Use a combination of words, numbers, symbols, and mixed-case letters
  • Use a passphrase (a random mix of words) for complexity
  • Utilize a trusted, encrypted password manager to store passcodes

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is a security function where users receive an email or text message with a code to verify their identity when accessing accounts. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter support this tool, allowing the user to add an extra layer of security by ensuring only the authorized individual can login.

Add Friends With Caution

Be careful when allowing new friends access to your profile. A persistent hacker will create fake profiles, sending friend requests to a target’s friend list in an attempt to seem more credible. This lowers your doubts about the identity of the requester. Once the hacker has access to your profile, any personal information you have posted can be used for future exploitation, including identity theft.

Conduct Security Checkups

Many social media platforms send an email if a login attempt is made from a new or unrecognized location. Facebook and LinkedIn settings allow you to view all active login sessions and previous login locations. Reviewing social media security settings periodically and becoming familiar with new security features will help protect you from intrusions.

Most social media sites are free to use, but it does not mean our private data is safe from intruders. We share parts of ourselves in exchange for access to the online world. Be intentional about what you share, who has access, and how that information is protected.

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