The amount of times you see a celebrity post a rather questionable opinion on social media, only for them to later claim their account was ‘hacked’, you may be forgiven for thinking that ‘hacked’ is nothing more than a code-word for embarrassing drunken posts.
But social media accounts do get hacked, and more often than you may think. According to a survey we conducted in partnership with YouGov, one in ten of us have had a social media account hacked, with a third party gaining access to all our personal information. Yet it is our friends we should be more wary of: one in five of our survey respondents said their mates had accessed their social media account to put up an embarrassing post.
Considering how much more personal information Facebook holds on its users than Twitter does, it’s perhaps no surprise that the former is the more commonly hacked: 63% of survey respondents who had been hacked said that an outside source had gained access to their Facebook account one or more times. 19% of smartphone users polled have had their Twitter accounts compromised.
Of course, it’s not just our latest social updates that are at risk from hackers – our phones hold a lot of sensitive information. 46% of all phone users said they would be most concerned about someone seeing stored phone numbers, while a quarter (24%) said text messages. Parents were also concerned about strangers seeing pictures of their children (15%), while 7% expressed a fear of someone seeing photos of an explicit nature.
So how can you protect your social media accounts and the information on your phone? We have a few handy tips for you:
Tips for keeping your mobile data safe
- Lock it up – Many phone owners still don’t use the lock function on their phone, perhaps considering them too much of a hassle. But they’re not as much of a hassle as having your personal information stolen. Passcodes have been joined by pattern and fingerprint identification, so there are lots of options for making sure only you can access your handset.
- Update your software – Software updates are not just about adding new features and fixing bugs in the operating systems, they’re also about fixing security vulnerabilities the manufacturer has identified. So keep your software updated.
- Get virus protection – Virus protection is universally accepted as a necessity on your computer or laptop, but many still don’t see it as important for a smartphone. Yet if you use your phone to access the web in the same way, you’re susceptible to the same viruses and malware.
- Get your head in the cloud - Securing your personal information on a remote cloud server, which has its own stringent security in place, rather than on your handset puts another barrier between your data and hackers who would seek to steal it.
- Shop carefully - Be careful when downloading apps from untrusted sources. If you find a website offering you an app to download, search for it on the App Store, Windows Store or Google Play Store and download it from there – that way you can be confident you’re not downloading anything malicious along with it.