Unless you’ve lived in the wilderness the past week, you’ve seen plenty of news about Meta’s newest social media app, Threads. With over 10 million users signed up just in the first 24 hours (and over 100 million active users now!), Meta’s “Twitter killer” is set to make big waves. Whether or not this will be a staple of social media going forward or just a flash in the pan remains to be seen. Like any social media, Threads has its own privacy and security risks.
While we caution anyone against signing up for a new service on the release day, we understand that most people will join up as soon as possible. So, how can you stay secure and retain some sense of privacy on Threads? We’ve put together some of our best practices on how to be cyber-safe when using social media. Even if you’re not signing up for Threads, the following is good information for Facebook, Twitter, or whatever social media you use.
Review your current accounts
Before you sign up for a new account, you should take some time to follow these steps for your current social media accounts. Chances are you’ve had the same Facebook account since high school. It’s likely your other accounts haven’t been looked at closely in years. This can lead to hackers who steal your identity, personal data, money, or all of the above.
1. Create a list of all your social media accounts
List out all accounts, both active and inactive. Yes, that means everything from your everyday Facebook account to that one Instagram account you made for your puppy years ago. Anything that you’ve created on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, write it down.
If there are accounts you truly don’t use anymore and don’t see a use for in the future, delete them. If you’re unsure how to delete your account, we’ve put some links below to help you. Remember, deactivating is not the same as deleting (in fact, with Threads, you can’t delete your account without also deleting Instagram)! You want to fully delete your unused accounts, not just hide them.
How to delete your account:
2. Update your passwords
This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people still use the same password they’ve used their whole lives for every account. Now, we’re not suggesting you should change your password frequently. Recent research indicates that regular password changes do more harm than good.
But if you’re using the same password for each account, take the time to set a unique password for each account (and no, adding a “!” to the end of your current one isn’t going to cut it). If you’re using the right amount of letters and numbers, this might sound complicated. But, it’s made easy with a password manager like 1Password. Not only can a password manager store all your login information for you, it can also generate unique and strong passwords so you don’t have to manually create each one.
3. Enable 2FA
Yes, having to open a separate app to grab a code every time you log in to your account is a pain. We get it. But 2FA prevents 99.9% of brute force hacks on your account. Data privacy and security is worth the extra ten seconds. Thankfully, password managers can make this process easier too. Many, like 1Password, have 2FA built in, so you can grab the 2FA code when you’re grabbing your login information.
4. Update recovery information
If you’re still using the same Facebook account from 8th grade, there’s a good chance your recovery email is still the same AOL account you had in middle school and no longer have access to. Make it a point to go through all your accounts and ensure your recovery email and phone numbers are current. If your account gets compromised, these are the only ways to recover possession and secure your account.
5. Check your privacy settings
We’re not suggesting you dial everything up to the max. Just be aware of what is public and what isn’t when posting. If your account is public-facing, be aware of what information you’re giving away such as location identifiers in pictures or replying to memes that use your birth year (seen in the below example). If you haven’t checked your privacy settings in a while, there’s a good chance they’re set pretty loose as a default.
An example of a meme designed to gain personal information about users
6. Review connected apps
One of the most convenient things site like Facebook offer is the ability to sign onto other services like Spotify or Planet Fitness through your Facebook account. But, if you haven’t checked what services you’ve connected in a while, you should review them. There might be services you no longer use, or ones you never added in the first place. The more connected apps you have, the more risk you’re taking on. Many social media apps hide these settings behind layers of menus, so here are a few links to that give you steps on how to check:
7. Set rules with employees and family members
Talk to any employees about not posting photos of family members, homes, and vacations unless they get permission from you. Ensure they understand that privacy and security are key to their continued employment. While you can’t exactly fire your children, have a similar conversation with them about privacy on social media. The more your home is posted online, the more hackers can learn about your life to impersonate you.
General Posting Guidelines
Once you’ve gotten your social media accounts in order, how can you stay secure going forward? There are a few general posting guidelines we recommend you follow when sharing your life digitally. First, don’t announce when you’re going on vacation. This is basically just broadcasting “my home is empty” to the world. Wait until you’ve returned to post those beautiful beach photos or your family skiing in Montana.
Next, use location tags sparingly. We all love showing off the cappuccino we just purchased at our cool new coffee spot, or bragging about a killer workout at the gym. But the more we tag location in our posts and stories, the more hackers and threat actors can learn about our routines.
Finally, make it a point to review your online activity regularly. Many of us don’t look through our profiles too often. Make it a point at least monthly to scroll through your profile to ensure there aren’t any surprises like posts you didn’t make, retweets, or likes.
Want to take your digital security to the next level? At Tech Superpowers, we’ve been helping high-net-worth individuals and their staff maintain privacy and cybersecurity for years. Whether it’s a deep dive into your online presence or the implementation of policies and standards for operating on the internet, we’re here to help you stay safe and protected. Contact us today, we’d love to chat!