Thousands of people log into Facebook and Twitter every minute of everyday, whether it’s for personal or business use, which unfortunately makes it even easier for spam, viruses and hackers to attack hundreds of accounts.
As a small business, you are sure to find using social media sites handy for promoting your latest service or product, but the more you share, the more you are at risk of making personal and confidential details public. An increasing number of companies have started opening shop in Facebook, advertising on LinkedIn and providing deals on Twitter, but do they realise how vulnerable they are?
Social media sites work hard to protect your private information, but it is almost impossible for all of your content to stay private all of the time. Information is often revealed by accident or through unsolicited action and malicious intent.
This is why we have put together a list of tips to help you protect your business by improving the security of your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
1. Create a strong password
The first thing you need to do is think of a complicated password, which even you might struggle to remember. For personal accounts, people often pick passwords which are far too obvious such as their favourite band, their pet’s name or the name of their partner. But as a small business, there is far more at risk if you were to be hacked into, which is why it is even more important not to use a password which someone could easily guess. Avoid passwords such as your business name backwards, the postcode of your office or your company’s motto.
2. Making your password stronger
You can make your password even stronger by mixing numbers and letters together, as well as changing your passwords frequently (every 60-90 days or so). Try and create a unique password for every site and account your business owns. This way, if anyone ever does manage to hack into one of your accounts, the rest are not vulnerable.
3. Avoid being a victim of phishing
As a small business, you are sure to be using the internet frequently, from sending -mails and researching, to tweeting about your latest service or updating your companies Facebook profile. This is why it is worth installing a good anti-virus software to protect you from spam e-mails and pop up adverts. There are some programmes such as FBSecure which asks your permission before any unknown applications are installed.
You can protect yourself from a phishing attack by always keeping an eye on the URL which shows up when you click on a link. It is also worth monitoring what your business partners or clients are sending or sharing with you on Twitter or Facebook. They may have been hacked (unknowingly) and before you know it, they send you a harmless looking link which actually contain malware.
4. How desperate are you to tweet from your phone?
If you thought that tweeting from your work computer was just as safe as tweeting from your smartphone then think again. The New York Times reported that apps which are developed for Google’s mobile OS do not need permission to gain access to your personal photos as long as they have the permission to access the Internet. So whatever you were desperate to tweet about is worth waiting until you are back at your work computer again.
5. Be careful what you tweet
You make think that you are tweeting something harmless but just remember, whatever you say could be a potential gateway to unintentional consequences. Tweeting something like ‘All the staff here at have clocked off early today to watch the World Cup final at the pub’, may seem harmless, but it is in fact telling everyone that you’ve all left the office and it is now empty. This is an open invitation for thieves to take advantage of. In addition, be sure to turn off the tracking location setting on twitter otherwise your exact location of tweeting will be revealed, making it much easier for thieves to find your office.
6. Sharing e-mails
Try not to share your e-mail address book with Facebook for instance because if it was hacked into, all your business partners and clients would receive spam e-mails, putting your relationship with them at risk.