Social media may be the best thing that has ever happened to most of us though we are yet to know if it is a friend or foe? Sitting behind a computer screen or staring at a phone is widely believed to be safer than wandering in the streets. For one, no one can punch you via the Internet.
The Internet is, however, not a safe haven, there is the little issue called ‘cybercrime,’ which is becoming increasingly common.
The most common crime on social media is that of false identity, which goes hand in hand with hacking and fraud. This is the most common cyber act in the world and it is mostly associated with the top celebrities and people with influence.
People create fake accounts, or impersonating accounts; to trick people into believing they are someone else — most likely a celebrity. Director of television soap operas, Femi Oke, says he was hacked three years ago and had to change his password to one with a lot of combinations. It took him three months before he could access his account properly.
“I changed my password to a colossal combination that took me three months to know myself. I also had to apologise to everyone that the hacker had sent messages to those who had sent him money. I told them they made a big mistake sending money without confirming first.”
Such cases like that of Mr. Oke is quite common and there are ways to avoid such problems. Mr. James Falase who is an IT consultant, says hacking and fraud can be a problem if proper steps are not taking so as not to ruin one’s business or even social life.
“Social media is a crucial part of business, that is for those who work with the Internet, which is common nowadays, thereby it is extremely important that one must keep his/her account safe. Imagine if someone gains access to your account? It will be devastating and it could potentially have a negative effect on your business, so it’s important to keep your account safe.
“When a hacker steals one’s account, he changes the handle in order to take away hard earned followers, the hacker sends out compromising links to the followers and he also attempts to tarnish the personal image of the owner of the account to customers or followers.” To conclude the conversation, he gave steps of how to avoid hackers and fraudsters from attacking personal accounts.
“With so many social media accounts to manage, it’s often times laziness that causes us to use weak easy-to-remember passwords. I’ve been guilty of it myself in the past, until a Facebook page we owned with more than 220,000 followers was hacked. The process to get it back lasted more than four months. Something I never want to endure again,” says Falase.
Celebrities complain all the time about their accounts being hacked and how the hackers soil their name by using the accounts fraudulently.
Recently, Mr 2Kay, Ogbeni Adan, Tunde Ednut and Nse Ikpe Etim among others complained about how hackers have used their accounts to solicit for funds from unsuspecting fans.
Celebs like 2face, Wizkid, Flavour, Dbanj and several others have also been hacked in the past.
Video director, Kemi Adetiba relayed her own experience, saying she got a suspicious email, asking her to log into a website to get ‘verified’. ‘It came from an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another form of hacking is called Phishing. This is how hackers obtain sensitive information — usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers — by pretending to be emails from a trusted source. It then links to another site where the information is collected and used maliciously.
Several international celebrities have fallen prey to these ‘phishers’ that have hacked into their phones and computers to steal nude photos. Even Facebook and Google have lost $100 million to phishing scams.
To avoid hacks such as this, it is best to ignore and delete any emails from untrusted senders as well as understand that social media websites, banks and any organisation that requires personal information will never redirect to a third party website.
Recently, Wizkid had to clear the air publicly and surely had some explanation to do with his off-and-on girlfriend, Tania Omotayo, after tweets posted from his official account that he was “25, single and enjoying life”. Of course this was not true, but the damage had been done.
Several disturbing posts appeared on the Super Falcon star Asisat Oshoala’s forward’s account, triggering concern from Nigerians. The disturbing posts depicted a depressed Asisat contemplating suicide. Asisat quickly regained control of her account and calmed the nerves of her fans that she was doing just fine and her account was only hacked.
“Yes, my acct was hacked. I’m doing great and training with my other Super Falcons and there is no stopping us. Thank u for the love and concern. I’m ready for this World Cup,” she wrote.
If these could happen to superstars, how much safe are the rest of us? Experts say spending less time on the Internet can be helpful, while keeping sensitive materials offline if necessary.
How to stay safe
Be selective with third-party application – When you use a third-party application, such as a social media post scheduler, they will require access to your account. Make sure you are only authorising legitimate application to gain access. And be sure to read the details of what exactly you are authorising the particular application to gain access to.
Some applications will only need minimum permissions, such as the ability to read and post content, so always read the fine print before granting access. It’s a good idea to login to all of your social media accounts and see what applications you are currently allowing to access your profiles. This source has links for popular social networks to help you determine what you are authorising; revoke access to anything you don’t trust or any applications you currently aren’t using.
Use strong passwords – Remembering passwords considered to be ‘strong’ can be a bit difficult to come by. Even the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, wasn’t too fond of difficult passwords until he was hacked.
His Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts were compromised and his password was later revealed to be ‘Dadada’. This just goes to show you that the majority of people don’t take their passwords strength too seriously. Most people think, “It will never happen to me.”
Well, it can happen, so make sure you use a password that is difficult to crack. For example, it says it would take a computer 552 quadrillion years to crack the password “Secure100Password3!”