social media space -->
Over the past few months, hundreds of
Easy to hack
"This is a popular scam since it is low-tech and easy. Hackers obtain your password illegally when you click on external links, apps or games or they copy and paste all your public information. Alternatively, depending on your privacy settings, they can send you a friend request. Once you accept, they start copying all your information and pictures to create an exact replica of your profile," explains
Blaeser says the purpose of this is to steal money. "It is reminiscent of that e-mail scam that went around a few years ago, but instead of using e-mail, the
He warns that it can also lead to identity theft and spam being sent from your account. Such hacks and cloning are more than just an annoyance to the victims. In some instances, it can cause major embarrassment and destroy personal and professional reputations too.
Moreover, it is not only Facebook users who should be on the lookout, hackers are wreaking major havoc on other social media platforms as well.
Loss of reputation also critical
"Although AP is not the only high profile corporate Twitter account that has been hacked, it experienced more damage than some of the other victims. Firstly, its credibility and reputation were harmed - even though the false tweet was not the handiwork of an AP staffer. Secondly, Twitter suspended its account for around 24 hours to prevent the hackers from posting again. Although understandable, the closure caused the news agency to lose many of its followers and many potential clicks to its website, since it normally uses Twitter to link to its news articles."
He advises that the time from when a breach occurs on any social media account to when it is discovered and caught, is crucial to minimising the damage. "Knowing when one's account has been hacked isn't as obvious as one might think, especially not in the instance of a corporate account, where more than one person might be posting to the feed. Therefore, it is not just a matter of seeing content that was not posted by one person. One would first have to check with everyone who has permission to update the feed if they had posted the update."
Other signs that one has been hacked have been listed by the Avira blog and include noticing that someone has logged in from a different location. "Most social media services have this feature built-in nowadays. If one normally logs in from
Other warning signs would be if an app starts posting on one's behalf, when one can't login to one's account anymore or one suddenly starts befriending and following a lot of new people one doesn't know.
He says that there are steps that social media users can take to protect their accounts from being hacked into. "Enable two-step authentication wherever possible, never use the same password for different accounts and install and use good antivirus software on all devices from which one accesses one's social media accounts," he concludes.
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