Secure Social Media Accounts from Cyberthieves

Make Sure You’re Only Sharing What You Intend

By Carolyn Shannon, Web Administrator

Many residents and businesses interact via social media, and find it a convenient way to get information and ask questions. How can you safely connect to businesses, family and friends via social media while protecting your private information?

At the City, cybersecurity begins with awareness: what information is being shared, and who is it being shared with? Armed with this information, City staff can use the right tools and processes to keep private information secure. As we roll into the holiday photo and story-sharing season, consider these options for your own online accounts. Take a few moments to review your social media security, to ensure you’re only sharing what you intend.

General Steps

First, start with passwords on your social media accounts. Make passwords long and strong. Change them if you haven’t done so in a while. Make them different for each account. The easiest way to do this is to use a password manager to keep track of them for you (rather than asking your Web browser to remember them or writing them down somewhere).

Password managers make it easy to change passwords regularly. Many will also auto-generate a strong password for you.

Multi-Factor/Two-Factor Authentication

Take advantage of multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible on social media accounts; all major social media sites have two-factor or multi-factor options to secure your account. ​MFA uses both your password and a second code (sent via text message, an authentication app or phone call) to ensure it’s really you. Once you’ve got the habit, using MFA as part of your login is easy, and greatly increases the security of your account.

For pointers with popular social media platforms, the Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE), training agency for the US Department of Defense, has developed a series of handy reference cards for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These help you review settings and ensure your privacy settings are updated and reflect the information you want to share and protect (see below). Each social media application has its own set of articles on privacy and security as well.

Take a few minutes to review and familiarize yourself with the privacy features in social media applications you use. Doing so will help ensure your information and accounts are safe as we move into the holiday “social sharing season.”