Posting, sharing, liking and commenting have become a routine in our daily lives, but we must be careful what we are broadcasting and to whom…

We share information online assuming that our posts will not affect us in any way other than a brief release of dopamine from the likes we receive. These innocent posts can be a source of crucial personal information for a malicious person trying to take advantage of you and others. Their goal is to collect as much personal information as possible which can be used for identity theft or sold to the highest bidder. Sensitive information in social media posts is just one of the many ways in which attackers can get hold of your sensitive information, other threats to consider online are fake requests from spam profiles, fake apps and malicious links.

According to a study lead by Bromium and Dr Mike McGuire, social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the perfect hunting grounds for attackers as they allow them to ‘“amplify, persuade and spread malware more quickly than email or other attack vectors.” (Osborne, 2019)

Sheera Frenkel of the New York Times (Media Genesis, 2018) explains, that users tend to be less cautious on social media as they consider themselves among friends, making them more likely to make common mistakes such as sharing valuable information or clicking on a malicious post.

Does this sound scary? It should. Follow the steps below to secure social media accounts and prevent potential threats:

Create a strong password

Your password should not contain any personal information that hackers can access easily. We recommend choosing four unrelated words, for example ‘grassbikeappletable’. Don’t save your login details in your browser or app, make sure that you don’t use it for any other service and consider using a password manager.

Be cautious about what you share

Don’t share personal information such as your date of birth, full address, or bank details on social media profiles or in posts. As this information is valuable to hackers and those with dishonest intentions. Just because an airport asks you to check-in – it doesn’t mean you have to on Facebook!

Secure your account as much as possible

Ensure a high level of security online by tightening profile security settings. These options allow you to restrict the visibility of your profile and posts from those who aren’t directly connected to you. You can also remove the message option which will make it harder to be contacted, further reducing the likelihood of being exposed to attack.

Be careful about shortened URLs

Many links on social media use shortened URLs to reduce the length of links. If these links do not have preview windows which show the domain of the link address do not follow the link, instead double check the link on google to find the complete URL.

Technology is rapidly adapting, and it has become easier than ever to share information about yourself which can be exploited, which makes vigilance on the part of the user paramount. Anti-virus programmes can only do so much – the best way to avoid cyber attacks is by identifying them before they can happen.


Osborne, C. (2019). The hacker’s paradise: Social networks net criminals $3bn a year in illicit profits. [online] ZDNet. Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].

Media Genesis. (2018). Social Media Hacking in 2018. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Aug. 2019].