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8 Ways to Protect Your Social Media Account from Hackers
By: Christine Geraci
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My Twitter account got hacked yesterday. 
 
Thankfully, most followers seemed understanding, and quite a few of them were nice enough to let me know they had received something suspicious.  
 
Still, the whole ordeal was rather embarrassing. My account was compromised because I opened a message from a Twitter follower I considered trustworthy. Even though I immediately reported the incident to Twitter, I didn't do everything I should have, and in the end, I paid for it: I (or, should I say, the malware) sent a creepy message to ALL of my followers, and I subsequently lost a few. 
 
If anything, this incident reminded me that no one's ever above a refresher when it comes to protecting their social accounts from pesky hackers:
 
1. When you receive a message from someone you trust, STOP. And think: Does this person normally message me? If it's someone you've never heard from or haven't heard from in a while, reply back with a "Hey, did you mean to send this to me?" first before you click on anything.
 
2. "Edit" the message. Is it grammatically correct? If not, chances are it's the work of a hacker. In my case, the misuse of the word "seen" should have tipped me that off it was a bogus message.
 
3. Change your passwords regularly. My work computer asks me to change my login password every now and then, and usually I change ALL of my passwords at that time. This time I didn't. Paid for that one. 
 
4. Check your applications. Chances are, your social media accounts have apps that you've picked up in your Internet travels. Make sure all of your passwords for apps are changed — particularly for Twitter. Delete any apps you don't recognize or no longer use. 
 
5. Report any compromise to the social network's help center immediately. Then, repeat steps 3 and 4. 
 
6. Apologize to anyone you've inadvertently sent garbage to. Most folks will understand. Stuff happens, after all. Plus, it's only polite.
 
7. Remember your mobile phone. If you routinely troll your social networks on your mobile phone, remember to log out of them. 
 
8. Always use HTTPS. Facebook is all about it, and Twitter gives you the option of using it whenever possible. 
 
What other precautions and best practices would you recommend? 


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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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