Social media has seen tremendous growth for many years. That growth is not slowing down anytime soon either, with thousands of people around the world joining social media platforms on a daily basis.
It is estimated that there are around 4.55 billion social media users around the world as of 2022. This is more than half of the world’s population, and that number is growing consistently.
While social media is a great tool to keep up with the latest news and stay in touch with your friends and family, it does come with some risks. Social media profiles can provide hackers with a lot of important information. If you’re not careful, it could lead to you becoming the victim of a cyberattack.
What Information Can Cybercriminals Find And Use?
In order to create a social media profile, we need to provide the website with some basic information such as email addresses and phone numbers. Oftentimes this information can be viewed by other users on the same social media platform, especially if your account is not set to private.
Cybercriminals can also go through your social media profiles and establish some basic information about you. For example, they can find your location through tags and see who your close friends and family members are from photos. Doing so will allow them to build up a ‘profile’ about you which will give them reliable information about who you are.
Even the most basic information such as your pet’s name or high school that you attended can be useful to cybercriminals. These are often used as security questions in order to recover your account if you forget the password, and a cybercriminal can use this information to get into your account and lock you out of it.
What Can Cybercriminals do With Your Information?
You might think that the basic information that can be found on your public social media profile might not be useful to a cybercriminal. However, cybercriminals can be extremely resourceful and use this information to their advantage.
For example, they can use it to guess your passwords and hack into your account. Many people use their names and date of birth in their passwords. These weak passwords can easily be guessed by a skilled hacker who has gathered enough information about you/
Cybercriminals can also sell your information on the dark web for a lot of money. Even the most basic information such as email addresses can sell for a lot of money as other cybercriminals will use that information to target you with phishing scams.
How to Keep Your Data And Devices Secure
Keeping your devices secure is crucial in this modern age. Cybercriminals will take any opportunity they can get to try and infiltrate your device to launch a successful cyberattack. It is estimated that a cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, which equates to around 2244 per day. You simply cannot afford to leave your devices unprotected.
The first step to keeping your information safe on the internet is setting your social media accounts to private. This will prevent any cybercriminals from seeing your information as well as what you are posting. You should also never allow people you don’t know to join your network.
You must ensure that you use strong and unique passwords. This will help to prevent cybercriminals from hacking into your accounts by guessing your passwords. Strong passwords are made up of words, characters, or numbers that do not relate to any of your personal information. Using strong passwords will make it much more difficult for a hacker to gain access to your accounts. Studies have shown that random phrases, letters, and numbers make the best passwords.
You should also ensure that each of your accounts uses a different password. If one of your passwords has been compromised, your other accounts will still be safe. The first thing a hacker will do is try to use the same password on multiple accounts as most people use one password for everything.
It might be difficult to remember all of your passwords, but there is an extremely useful tool you can use to ensure that all your passwords are kept safe. You should consider using a premium password manager. It is best to avoid the default password manager on your phone or internet browser as these can easily be breached by a cybercriminal, leaving all of your passwords compromised.
A premium password manager, however, is much more secure. All your passwords will be safe by a ‘master key’ which is a randomly generated password that only you have access to. When you create an account with the password manager, the master key will be sent to you via email. You must keep track of this master key, as there is no other way to recover your account. This makes a premium third-party password manager much more secure than any other password manager.