If a social network shuts down — but nobody’s on it — does it make a sound?
In the case of Google Plus, the answer is “yes” — and that sound you’re hearing is outrage about subpar security practices.
Given its paltry user numbers, Google’s decision to shutter its little-loved Google Plus social network was hardly surprising. Yet Google Plus’ status as a digital ghost town appeared to be only part of the search giant’s rationale for the closing. The company admitted a security bug may have caused 500,000 Google Plus accounts to be breached.
Although Google discovered the leak in March 2018, they initially decided against public disclosure — a move that may have them in hot water with regulators across the globe. With new and vastly tougher consumer data privacy laws now in effect in the European Union, businesses are contending with greater scrutiny at a time when hacks continue to surge to all-time highs.
In other words, October has now become “Hacktober.”
Staying digitally safer on smartphones, social and search
Google is, of course, no outlier when it comes to security issues. Fresh of the massive Cambridge Analytical scandal, Facebook is now struggling with yet another hack, one that has exposed data associated with tens of millions of accounts. Facebook, too, is under the withering gaze of regulators and could face a fine in excess of a billion dollars.
If sophisticated, innovative companies such as Google and Facebook can’t keep your information secure, then no third party is safe. Responsibility for digitally safe storage of personal information on social media and in the cloud is incumbent on users.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some security tips you can use to help keep your data as digitally safe as possible.
Upgrade to IoS 12
Smartphones are our primary conduit to the digital world. As such, they need to be zealously protected. If you’re an iPhone owner, updating to the latest version of the IoS operating system is one of the simplest things you can do to protect your data.
The new update offers some very useful security features, including the ability to create longer passcodes and a built-in password manager that makes creating and using multiple passwords much easier.
IoS 12 also has a new USB restricted feature that allows you to prevent cords, cables, and other accessories from accessing your phone and stealing your data.
This is the gold standard for security. If you’re not using two-factor authentication to secure your log-in information and other data, you’re making it vastly easier for hackers to compromise your account.
Two-factor authentication works by requiring you to punch in a six-digit numerical code along with your password when you access websites, apps, and accounts. These codes are typically generated by an app (such as Google Authenticator) or via an SMS text message, though the latter option is much less secure.
Smart social sharing
Social media isn’t just a goldmine for digital advertisers; it’s also a treasure trove for hackers. The personal information we share over social networks often makes breaching an account trivially easy.
To avoid this, be very careful with what you share. Make sure your account settings are secure ones. Don’t accept friend requests from questionable sources. Never click links you’re unsure about — and always use different passwords for different platforms.
With new security breaches popping up seemingly every day, “Hacktober” is a reality. We strongly encourage you to follow the suggestions outlined above to stay as safe and secure as possible this fall season.
Fail to do so, and you run a serious risk of financial losses, reputational harm, and other serious problems. Contact our team of social media & digital experts today to make sure your information is safe and secure online!