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Keeping your social media accounts secure

2 min read


SmartPulseSmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Are you confident that your social media accounts are secure?

  • No — 80%
  • Yes — 20%

News that a West African hacker accessed and published Twitter log-in details that could have allowed access through third-party apps was just the latest in a string of headline-grabbing social media breaches. Although most hacks aren’t like to cause the stock market to take a dive, having your account hacked can still result in some serious damage.

The 80% of respondents who say they aren’t confident in their accounts’ security have reason to be nervous — there is no foolproof method to preventing hacks. But there is plenty of advice to keep in mind and best practices to follow. After The Onion was hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, they published a detailed account and listed tips on prevention. This primer on two-factor authentication from Mashable also comes with a healthy reminder that “all security [is] only as strong as its weakest link.”

But from anecdotes and my own experiences, it’s clear that knowing what to do is just the start. Choosing security and password-management software, implementing processes, and educating and getting buy-in from all employees that touch social media accounts can seem like a daunting task. For any company with a social media presence that feels vulnerable, the first step is to recognize the importance of security. Then, put someone (or perhaps a cross-department marketing-IT duo) in charge of developing a security plan, and make executing that plan a top priority. Investments in security — both upfront and ongoing — will always cost less than a post-hack cleanup operation. This is well worth your time.

Now, if you want to fake a hack as a publicity stunt, luckily the advice is a little more simple: Don’t.