Social media can be a great tool to network, meet new people and maintain relationships. Recently, some students are finding themselves dealing with hackers and impersonators. These hackers can gain access to your accounts, spam followers and even spread malware. It has caused students to panic because their memories are on social media.
This happened to one student whose TikTok was hacked and temporarily banned as a result. “I was sitting in my bed on a Thursday night and I got a message on my phone,” junior journalism and public relations major Lindsey Hyams said. “My username on TikTok was updated to a random username that I’ve never seen before.”
Hyams has over 7000 followers on TikTok and has been a part of the platform’s community since August 2019. She noticed that someone was logged into her account from Florida. After finding this out, Hyams went to the TikTok app to investigate. She discovered that someone had changed her password, username and phone number.
This resulted in severe consequences on the platform. “That got me blocked and it got me banned from TikTok forever,” Hyams explained. Hyams was devastated by this and took action. She enlisted the help of TikTok support, from a representative named Rosemary. The representative told her that if she could verify her identity, she’d be able to get her account back.
A week later, Hyams’ account was reinstated. However, she mentions that she doesn’t want to be an influencer, but being able to post content is fun for her.
Junior journalism student Bella Johnson was hacked on Instagram, according to an email. “I did not originally notice my account was hacked,” she said. “I got a call from one of my friends to tell me that there was a weird post about bitcoin on my page.”
Johnson has had her account since she was 11. In the email, she stated that she spent countless hours attempting to recover her account with no direct contact to support. Ultimately, she was not able to reclaim it. “I was so upset about losing my first account,” Johnson expressed. “It was also embarrassing that there was someone on my account sending messages to every person I have never met.”
Both students experienced a sense of panic and embarrassment with being hacked on social media. Here are a couple of tips on how to keep your accounts safe and secured:
Be sure to change your password and that it’s strong. Most accounts get hacked because they have the same password or it’s not strong enough. For a strong password, use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters like “!,” “@,” and “#.” It is recommended that you change your password every three months. Don’t store passwords on your phone or your notes as this is very vulnerable if you lose your phone.
Download antivirus for your laptop and phone. Many internet service providers, or ISPs, provide some form of security protection. There are many antivirus programs you can get, but choose the best one that works for you. Some even include an antivirus for both your computer and phone. If you are having security concerns, you can visit the MSU Tech Store, located in the Computer Center, Room 110 and by phone at (517) 432-0700. You can also call the MSU IT Service Desk at (517)-432-6200.
Two-Factor Authentication, or 2FA, is an extra security feature that confirms your identity before logging in. It utilizes a combination of two components, usually the account password and a passcode. This feature is commonly overlooked and makes your account more vulnerable to hackers. Here are some guides to enable this feature on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Use a password management app:
On your phone and laptop, there is a password management app that will help you keep track of your passwords. When you sign up for an account using your phone, it will ask you whether or not you want to save your password. While you can do this, you can also use LastPass, which stores all of your passwords in one place. LastPass is free for one user, but you can upgrade to get additional features.
Hyams also gave some important online safety tips as well. “Just seeing the crazy stuff people post, just be careful,” she said. “Because you never know who’s out to get you or what crazy people are out there.” Hyams also emphasized that enabling two-factor authentication will protect your account.
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