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Prevent being hacked

by Salaamedia Intern

Jan Vermeulen discussed the measures one can take to avoid hacking Photo TheStreet.com

The hacking “business” has become very lucrative. Many South Africans are fearful of the possibility of their social media accounts being hacked. We can take necessary steps to protect our social media accounts from this.

Jan Vermulen, an investigative journalist and editor of My Broadband, shared why hackers may go after an ordinary person’s social media account.

“It unfortunately [has] got to a stage, where it’s become lucrative enough for these attackers to go after the ordinary people on these platforms it seems. You know we didn’t think this day would come but here we are. One of the main ones we see is a kind of scam we call the bigging scam. So somebody gets into your social media and then sends all your contacts, or followers, direct messages saying please I need some help, or you know, just directly says listen I’m short of a thousand five hundred grand, can you please send it to me. In South Africa we’ve got all kinds of mechanisms that folks use, so they might say e-wallet to me so that you send them a voucher code. They cash out the money at an ATM and it’s gone.”

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What does a hacked account mean and how can you fix it?

When your account is hacked, you lose control of the things you can post and send to people, or you might not even be allowed to log into the account. The instance your account is hacked, social media apps have specific procedures to help restore the account or assist a user to create a new stronger account.

“You can retrieve your accounts, so each service has different procedures for reporting a hacked or stolen account. You can get that information by simply searching for it. If you go to Instagram hacked account or Twitter hacked account, Facebook hacked account, the process for trying to recover your account will be highlighted on those pages. Each one has a slightly different process but there are ways to recover your account if it’s been hacked.”

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How to prevent your account from being hacked

Although, there is a high possibility of you getting your account back after being hacked, it is not the ideal for most people. Luckily, there are precautionary measures that a person can take to strengthen their account. Vermulen explains there are two approaches that you should consider. The first approach is to create a strong password and ensure it is not used for all one’s accounts.  A repeated password allows hackers the opportunity to gain access to all your accounts

“I strongly recommend that people start using two-factor authentication, even though it’s extremely inconvenient. How two-factor authentication works is, we’re all familiar with online banking, so if you log into your online banking profile and you want to do a transaction then usually you get a one-time pin to use somewhere. It says that someone has requested this transaction, please authorise it.”

For the safety of your personal information, it is strongly encouraged that you take the following precautionary measures into consideration. Jan Vermeulen on the steps to take to prevent being hacked.

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