Top locks for your social media accounts

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs
Top locks for your social media accounts
Throughout the month of June roughly 968 million people actively used Facebook every day. Between family photos, quirky status updates and videos of cats, social media users are locked in a constant struggle to maintain their individual privacy in a world that is rapidly becoming more open and connected.

Here are just a few tips for locking down your digital presence.
Making your password bulletproof
U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
This is your first line of defense, when securing any social media account. Selecting a unique, but also memorable, password will ensure you can log into your profile while simultaneously keeping others out. Additionally, hackers who obtain passwords for one site will often try them on other profiles. So, keep your passwords as diverse as you can, and don't share them with anyone. If you think someone may know it - change it.

Follow these steps to change your Facebook password:
Go to More, from a mobile device, or click the lock icon from a computer.
Go to the Settings tab and select General.
Select Password.
Type your current password. Then type your new password, and reenter it once more.
Select Change Password.
Watch those permissions, buster!
U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
Every time people download an application, the developers are able to see some of their personal information. It could be as simple as your name, or as in depth as your address book, social media account information, physical location or even your photos.

So what can you do? Apple iOS apps are required to ask for your permission to access contacts, location, accounts and microphone functions. These permissions can be granted or revoked from the iOS Settings privacy section. Unfortunately, Android users must explore third-party controllers to manage app permissions, since application-permission management is not an official featured offered on Android devices.

Whether you manage a digital farm, crush some candy, launch enraged birds at pigs or even enjoy word challenges with friends, chances are your social media accounts are linked to a multitude of third-party applications. Many of these apps may be useful and legitimate - however, they all can be used as a way for hackers to gain access to your social media accounts. A regular audit of all authorized apps and services can ensure your online profiles stay safe and secure.

Each social media platform has its own way to manage applications. For Instagram, click "Edit Profile," select "Manage Applications" and choose the "Revoke Access" option next to any app you don't recognize or use.
Know who is logging into your account.
U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
Facebook offers a feature allowing users to receive a code on their phone whenever their account is logged into. The code will allow the user to log into their account, while, at the same time, keeping others from accessing the profile.

Here is how you turn on login approvals:
Go to More, from a mobile device, or click the lock icon from a computer, and select Settings.
Go to Security Settings.
Select Login Approvals On.
Follow the prompts and enter your mobile phone number.
Enter the code sent to you and select Confirm.
Once this feature is enabled, whenever a login is attempted from a previously unused or untrusted source, Facebook will send the user a notification and ask for approval via a security code. The code will either be sent through text message or by way of the Facebook app.

Both Twitter and Google offer similar features. If you prefer to Tweet or Re-Tweet, go to the Settings page, select Security and Privacy, then choose the Login Verification option. For Google users, choose Security, then "2-step Verification" from your account page.
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego
U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
If you are old enough to get that reference, then chances are you may still have geotagging enabled on your photos. Seemingly harmless photos can contain more information than the average user suspects. Embedded within digital photos can be a plethora of data people can glean.

While not every camera on the market geotags photos, many GPS-enabled devices - such as smartphones, automatically attach longitude and latitude of where the image, video or even SMS message was generated. This could provide stalkers, potential thieves or other unscrupulous characters with not only your location, but potentially your patterns of movement.

Still not convinced? Check out this project put together by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the International Computer Science Institute. It shows just how much information you share when you post geotagged photos on Twitter or Instagram.

Since every smartphone comes preset to geotag, here is how you disable the feature on various devices:
iPhone: disable geotagging through "Settings," select "General" and then "Location Services." Disable all the applications that use GPS data.
Android: open the camera application and select "Menu." Go to "Settings," and select turn off "Geotagging" or "Location Storage" - the option depends on which version of Android you own.
Blackberry: open the camera icon and select "Menu." Navigate to "Options," set the geotagging option to "Disabled" and select "Save."
Avoid the Phishing nets.
U.S. Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton

As part an update to out security measures, we regularly screen Facebook system activity. Recently, we contacted you after noticing an issue with your account.

Our system detected unusual Copyrights activity linked to your Facebook account. Please follow the link bellow to fill the Copyright Law form:

[Link provided in e-mail]

Note: If you dont fill the application your account will be permanently blocked.


Facebook Copyrights Department.

Phishing emails, websites and phone calls are specifically designed to steal information or money from people. By responding to the message, providing certain information or even clicking a link cybercriminals can install malicious software on phones or computers, which allow them access to personal and possibly sensitive information.

Take note of these common phishing identifiers:
Did you catch the veiled threat? Cybercriminals will often use threats that your security has been compromised or your account will be deactivated if you don't respond to an e-mail or visit a website.
Did you take the blue or red pill? Scam artists often use convincing graphics designed to trick people into thinking they are affiliated with a popular website or company. They also use web addresses resembling those companies, but with slight alterations. Make sure you are not getting trapped inside this matrix of deception.
"Who ya gonna call?" Have you ever been eating dinner, watching television or just relaxing when the phone rings and a mysterious, but friendly, technician offers to help solve your computer problems or sell you software licenses you need. It is important to note that software companies do not make unsolicited phone calls offering to charge people money for software updates or computer security updates. All unsolicited phone calls should be treated with skepticism - and never give our personal information to the caller.
If you identify a phishing scam, there are several options to report the activity:
In the United States, use the Federal Trade Commission Complaint Assistant to report suspicious activity or phishing scams:
In the United Kingdom, fraud can be reported to the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre: If you receive an unsolicited call, it can be reported to the Telephone Preference Service:
While there is no way to completely control every aspect of your social media network, aside from deleting your profiles, taking the time to follow these and other precautions will make you a harder target and help safeguard your personal information.