People often wonder: “what do social media hackers gain by hacking social media accounts and how did I fall into the hands of these scammers?”
Today, we are going to discuss why social media accounts are the targets and expose some of the methods used in hacking social media accounts. We will also share some tips on how to protect your social accounts from social media hackers.
Why are social media accounts the target?
Social networking sites or social media helps to connect people with their family, friends, celebrities, brands, etc. We share lots of information about who we are, what we do, where we live, where we go, where we work, our personal, family and friends’ photos as well as who we know. We even share massages as well as our financial details often without considering the possible security risks.
We often hear on or another social network gets hacked which leads to user’s personal info becoming public.
Since this level of information can only be derived from social accounts, that is why social media accounts are one of the major targets of hackers and scammers to gain enough information required for their bad intentions. A social hacker can learn every online activity of their victims to steal their identity, expose their personal affairs, gain access to their personal and professional information, or commit financial scams.
For instance, social media hackers can easily impersonate you by using your personal information; they can easily obtain your bank details, shopping history, and location, and make purchases or transactions as if they were you. They can read your private messages, access all your contacts and even gain information required to hack into their accounts. That means more access to people within your social network – a potential for social hackers to steal or perpetuate their evil intentions.
How Social Media Hackers Take Over accounts
To protect your social media accounts from social hacking, it is important to understand how they hack social media accounts. In this section, we are going to discuss some of the popular methods of hacking to avoid being hacked using those methods.
This social hacking method is very easy and often considered a hacking technique used by newbies. However, it is one of the most efficacious methods to hack social media accounts. With this method, the social hacker has a 50-50 chance of getting its victims password especially if the victim is ignorant of the basic internet terms.
Although there are several ways of hacking social media using this technique, the most common one is to create a duplicate of a social media login page which resembles the original login page. The unsuspecting victim thinks that it’s the normal login page and enters his/her login details. The moment the victim logs in through the phishing page, his/her login details will be stored in the database of the social hacker.
For instance, social hackers can get into your account by sending you an email that claims to be from your social networks like Facebook or Twitter. The massage’s branding looks like that of your social media giant and notifies you that someone from another country is trying to access your account or that you have many unread messages or notifications. At the end of the message, they invite you to click on a link provided to protect your account or open your account to check the notifications. The moment you click on that link, you are taken to a webpage that is a perfect replica of the login page of your original social networking site.
This method relies on the use of a program known as a Keylogger to monitor and record all the key that is entered by a social media network user. This program can actively transmit all your input to social hackers through the internet.
This method is one of the easiest and most efficient techniques used to hack social media accounts and has been used to hack the accounts of many computer experts, so you have to be cautious when dealing with a keylogger.
Third-party apps or games
Another way social hackers can get into your accounts is by creating third party apps or games that are intended to siphon your information. How many times have you seen your cell phone or computer screen with a notification like: “an app would like to access your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media account. Click YES or OK to grant access”. Well, some of these third-party apps are questionable, and when you allow their access or integrate them into your social media networking accounts, you have just opened the door for social hackers.
Scammers can hack these questionable or less-trustful apps and gain the required information to carry out their evil intentions. We are not asking you to reject all third-party apps that request your permission to access your profile, but you should try to check the legitimacy of the apps before you allow them.
With this technique, social hackers secretly alter and relay information between the victim and sever who think they are communicating with each other directly. They establish independent connections with their victims and send messages to them to make their victims think that they are communicating with each other directly on a private connection, whereas the social hacker controls the whole conversation.
The hacker intercepts all relevant information passing between its victims and injects new ones. In most case, this action is straightforward; for instance, a social hacker can insert himself as the man-in-the-middle in a wireless access point that is within his reception range.
With this technique, the social hackers hijack their victims’ cookies from their web browsers to access their victims’ account. These cookies contain a session for the victims’ authentication which is created by the interaction of their social media server with their browser when they login to their account.
Social hackers mostly use this method on victims who are accessing their social media webpages on a non-secure (HTTP) connection, and it is prevalent among Wi-Fi and LAN connections.
Creating free profiles
Hackers can also hack social media accounts by creating a free profile and design it in such a way that it matches perfectly with the interest or business of his target and send a friend invitation to his target. If the target accepts the hacker’s friend request, then the hacker has access to his information and all the contact within his connection and can go on to commit identity theft.
Apart from the method listed above, social media hackers can get into your account if:
- You have a malware or virus on your device
- The third-party app you authorized is breached or hacked
- Your social network website is hacked
- You clicked on a harmful link on a webpage, message or email
- You use commonly used or weak passwords
- Your security software is outdated
How to Prevent or Stop Social Media Hackers from Hacking Your Account
- Log into your account and check if anyone else (such as any phone number or email address apart from yours) has access to your account. If so, deactivate or remove them immediately.
- Update your antivirus and other security software and run a full scan on your device to remove harmful programs and files that may be spying or stealing your login details. Restart your device and run the scan again. Set your device to an automatic update so that you’ll be protected from new attacks.
- Upgrade to a unique and strong password for each social media account you own and enable 2-Factor Authentication (also known as 2-Step Verification) to give your account an extra layer of protection.
- Review your social media account permissions and restrict access to third-party apps.
- Use VPN on all your devices especially for public connections. By using a VPN, your traffic and identity are encrypted, making it difficult for a hacker to hack your social media accounts. This method is a surefire way to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks among others.
- Avoid using LAN and public Wi-Fi for social media, online banking, and sending important or sensitive emails. Treat any shared or public Wi-Fi as a playground for social hackers.
- Check the URL of your social media login page, avoid links from a suspicious or unknown site.
- If you noticed your social media account has been hacked, report the breach to your social network brand so that they can prevent the attack from spreading. You should also notify your friends and family to prevent identity theft.