It’s seems that almost everyone online today has some form of social media account, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+. A lot of time and energy has been put into warning people about the dangers of posting controversial or negative things to these sites. Many employers are now surfing the web looking at employees or prospective employees to see what they are saying on the internet and some people have actually found themselves fired because of what they have posted. But what most people don’t realize is that there is also a great danger in just being a part of these sites because of the danger of being hacked. In this first of two articles, we will take a look at how your social media can be used by hackers and why it is so vulnerable.
At one point, having your Facebook or Twitter account hacked was something that your friends did as a practical joke to try to embarrass you. But cybercriminals can hack your account just as they hack email accounts using a “brute force tool” which cycle through common passwords to find the right one. Once they have a hit and gain access to your account, then the headaches start. A hacker can use your account to send spam to everyone on your friends list or to send emails to them in your name requesting money for an emergency. Since you are already in their network of friends and family, there is a level of trust and some may give the money without realizing it is going to a criminal instead.
Other problems occur once the hacker has your password because, unfortunately, many people reuse the same passwords for all of their accounts including email and banking. This is a huge mistake as it potentially allows someone who hacks your social media account to also have access to all of your online information. In our next article, we will also see how some of the information that you innocently post openly on social media sites can put your security at risk.