Why would someone want to target your Instagram account? You share what you ate, maybe the books you read, the shoes you bought, or that really cool image of the sky above. How is that going to help a hacker? Read on to learn more.
OK. Your obvious love of chicken and waffles isn’t going to mean a lot to a cybercriminal, not unless your password is “chicknwaffles.” But there are people who make a living from Instagram. Influencers can make millions by posting a pic of their latest smoothie or the new pair of socks they love. Their IG accounts are their business. A hacker gaining access could destroy an influencer’s reputation, their livelihood.
Businesses, too, are moving to IG as a way to reach a targeted audience with vibrant visuals. They can’t afford to have their accounts taken over by an ill-intentioned hacker. That could lead to lost customers and brand damage.
Then, there’s you, the “average” IG user. Yes, the cybercriminal might still target your Instagram account. For one, they might use your IG handle to reach out to your friends and say, “I’m stuck overseas. I need some money.” Caring friends, not knowing it’s not you, could end up a victim of a scam.
How to Protect Your Instagram Account
#1 Go Private
Instagram lets individuals, influencers, and businesses show creativity. However, you want to control who sees what you post. You may not want everyone to see your photos. Limit your content visibility to friends and family in the Instagram profile window:
- Click on the three dots in the right corner.
- Scroll to the bottom of the options.
- Turn on the Private account setting (the button should turn blue).
You can also block followers you don’t know. Click on your Followers list, and tap on the users you don’t recognize. Tap on the menu button and choose “Block User.”
#2 Disable cross-app sign-ins
Using your IG account to sign in to other applications is convenient, because you have to remember only your IG access credentials. Still, by streamlining your sign-in you are also making it easier for a hacker to compromise your accounts. Now, they can get access to one account and use that as a way into the other connected accounts.
Log in to your account and review all connected applications. You can do this by visiting the Authorized Applications tap under the Edit Profile tab.
#3 Don’t overshare
Sure, that’s the golden rule of social media. Still, we’re talking here about reviewing personal information you share on Instagram. Take a look at your profile information and review whether all those details really need to be there. A hacker could use anything specific you write in your Bio to verify your identity elsewhere. Reconsider posting your birth date, alma mater, anniversary, favorite sports team, etc.
#4 Turn off location services
Instagram’s location services can let you check in at a particular place. But by doing this, you’re giving thieves extra information they can use against you. Instead, go into your phone’s Privacy settings and turn off location services for IG.
You also don’t want to cue criminals that you’re away for a vacation with posts from the beach. You might want to share that sunny sand pic. Then, you regret it when you come home to a burgled home.
#5 Enable two-factor authentication
Of course, the starting point is to pick a strong, unique password for your Instagram account, but Instagram has added two-factor authentication for an added layer of security.
In Instagram’s mobile app you click on the Options icon at the top right to get to a menu offering this option. You will get a short link to click on. Do so, and turn on the two-factor authentication. You’ll set it up using your mobile phone. Then, in the future, you’ll have to log in with the added security of a unique code sent to your phone via text message.
#6 Review your login activity
Keep an eye out for illicit use of your account by reviewing Login Activity. This is under Settings on the desktop app and shows a list of locations from which you’ve logged in. So, if you’ve never been to Thailand, but your IG account has, that would be a red flag. If you do spot locations you don’t recognize, log out from your device, and change your password.
Need help securing your Instagram account or other social media channels? Our helpful Marketing pros have the expertise you need. Contact us today at 561-693-1978
How can you make the internet a safer place for your children? It’s a common concern as all parents want their kids to be protected and happy whenever they go online. It’s relatively easy to supervise and monitor the very young ones as they stare delightedly at the Disney Jnr site, but the risks increase greatly as kids get older and more independent.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘cyber safety’ before, but safe internet usage goes beyond reminding them not to talk to strangers. With the evolution of the internet and the way it’s now woven seamlessly into our lives, the focus needs to be on ingrained habits. That means ensuring your children have the tools and predefined responses to online events so that no matter what happens, they’re not placing themselves (or your family) at risk. Setting up these habits is easy, and begins with three basic understandings:
Downloads are a no-go
Most kids can’t tell the difference between a legitimate download and a scam/malicious link. It’s not their fault, the online world is full of things that will trick even the most savvy adult. The difference is that kids tend not to take that extra moment to check exactly where that link is pointing, question whether it’s too good to be true, or even read what they’re agreeing to. They want to get back to what they were doing, and if something pops up, their first instinct is to click ‘yes’ – purely so it goes away. Unfortunately, that single ‘yes’ may have just opened the doors to malware and viruses that will ruin their computer. Set a family rule that they need to ask permission for all downloads (and an adult will check it first), and to never click a popup. When you’re called over to give download permission or check a popup, talk through exactly what you’re checking and why. As your child matures, get them involved in this process so their safe habits extend outside the home.
Critical thinking is a must
Most youngsters think the internet is a magical place and can’t imagine their life without it. To them, the internet is on the same level as oxygen! With that acceptance though, comes unwavering trust that the internet would never lie to them, never trick them and never hurt them. While we adults know better, it’s only because we already view the internet with a certain level of distrust. The best way to keep kids safe is to teach them to approach every aspect of the internet with critical thinking. That includes teaching them to question the motives of other people online. Is that person really a kid? What do they really want? Unfortunately, all kids do need to be aware that predators use the internet to target and lure children. Ensure your children tell you immediately if a stranger makes contact. Along with this stranger danger, teach them to identify what marks something as suspicious, and what they should avoid. If they come across anything inappropriate, they should shut down the computer and come straight to you.
The internet is forever
Kids have an overwhelming drive to contribute to the internet, they don’t think twice about recording a video, jumping in a chat room or onto social media. The world really is their playground! But what they don’t understand until they’ve been burned, is that anything they upload, write or say is on the internet forever. Even if they delete it or use a platform where content self-erases, someone can still screenshot and send it right back out. Many cyber-bullying cases are based around this exact type of blow-back. Once your kids know that everything they post is permanent, they’ll be more likely to pause and think.
For more tips and for all of your Internet Marketing needs – give us a call at 561-693-1978.
Doing business today you are as likely to give out your website address as your email or phone number. Your Web domain is your business identity on the internet. Don’t risk falling victim to the cyberthreat known as domain hijacking.
You build up a business site to represent your brand online. Every bit of content, and all the fonts and images you selected, reflect your business. You probably also have email addresses at the domain name (e.g. email@example.com). So, imagine the pain of finding out that someone else has stolen your domain.
When your domain gets hijacked, you lose control of your website, its email addresses, and all associated accounts. And it’s not easy to recover them.
The Infosec Institute shares examples:
An advertising agency spent US$15,000 and 19 months recovering its stolen domain.
The owner of ShadeDaddy.com lost US$50,000 and had to lay off six of its eight employees. He said domain name theft is “like your house got stolen.”
How does a domain get stolen?
There are several ways this can happen to a business or individual.
The simplest is that your domain name expires, and you don’t know it. Domain registrars must send notice one month and one week before the domain expires. But the reminders might go to an email address that is no longer active or to the Web company that set your site up years ago and with whom you no longer communicate.
Once your domain rights lapse, the site gets disabled. After that, the domain name goes back into a pool of domain names for anyone to buy.
There are people who make money from purchasing domains. They hope to make money off your company’s desperation to get its domain back. Or they profit from redirecting traffic from your reputable Web address to their own.
Then there are the hijackers. These cybercriminals also want to profit from Web traffic redirects or to access your domain emails to send false invoices. They might intercept emails sent to your domain to learn proprietary information. They could change the content on your site or redirect traffic to a hub for online gambling, or worse.
The hijackers might steal your domain by gaining access to the email account you used to set up the domain. Cybercriminals might use phishing emails to obtain the access credentials. They use the password reset mechanism to take over your account and transfer the domain to a different registrar.
Your domain registration company could be compromised, too. It helps to pick an accredited registrar for your domain registration.
Any of these scenarios can have a serious, lasting impact on your business. Once someone else has access to your domain address they can do whatever they want with it.
Protect Against Domain Hijacking
The first step is to protect your access credentials. Leveraging two-factor authentication can also help prevent hijackers from stealing your domain. A registry lock can also help. It requires more communication if someone tries to change domain registration. This lets you know of suspicious activity and gives you some time to react.
It’s also important to know who is managing your domain name and how it is being managed. A Managed Service Provider can take care of this ongoing process for your business. For more on how to keep your website and domain secure Call us at 561.693.1978