Why you should step away from that social media quiz

Think that relationship compatibility quiz on your social media feed is harmless fun? It might be – but it could also be putting you in harm’s way.

If you have a social media account, there’s always a chance that at some point you might be hacked.

Computer security company McAfee says about 22 per cent of internet users report their social media accounts being hacked at least once, with 14 per cent of people being hacked more often.

Hacking can take different forms. You might receive a notification that one of your social media passwords has been changed, but you know nothing about it.

“You may get a message on Messenger from a friend that says, ‘Hi, is this you in this video?’ and there’s a link to click on. But if you click on that link, whoever has hacked your friend’s account can try to access your data,” explains Susan McLean, of Cyber Safety Solutions.

So what steps can you take to protect your social media accounts from hackers?

Ignore quizzes in your social media feeds

Quizzes that ask you what celebrity you most look like or what Disney character you would be are designed to gather your personal data, says social media expert Nicola Moras.

“When you use these quizzes, you’re often sharing information with them directly or you’re giving them permission to access your profile and everything in it,” she says.

“From there, hackers have systems to collate the data, enabling them to build a profile on you that they can then use to hack your accounts.”

Change your passwords regularly

Ideally, change your social media account passwords every 60 to 90 days and don’t use the same password for all your accounts.

“Create passwords that are a mix of upper and lower case, numbers and symbols,” says Susan.

Use a secure single sign-on

“You can download software that stores your passwords securely and then use only one password to login to that,” says Nicola, author of Into the Spotlight.

“So, all you need to do is remember one password and the software will store the passwords for all your profiles within it.”

Such password management systems include LastPass and 1Password.

Bump up your privacy

Use any available privacy options and a private profile where available.

But remember that all the information you put on social networking, or share on social networking apps, will be available to the app or social networking company regardless of your privacy settings.

Use multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication requires two or more proofs of identity – like a pin, fingerprint or answer to a secret question.

“This makes it more difficult for criminals to hack you,” says Susan.

Don’t use ‘sign in with Facebook’ on other sites

If you sign up to a website using Facebook as the sign in and add your address and PayPal access, it can leave you exposed if someone hacks into Facebook.

They can use that sign-on to get into other sites, explains Nicola.

“They can buy things under your profile and gather more information about you. Always sign up or sign in with an email address and password,” she says.

Report suspicious behaviour

Don’t click on or respond to suspicious links, messages or emails, says Susan.

If you get a suspicious Messenger note from a friend, let your friend know.

And report anything suspect that you find on your social media account to the platform, so it can investigate.

Written by Sarah Marinos.