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How To Secure Your Social Media Accounts

Instagram has a robust set of privacy controls, though it doesn’t have the same handy checkup tool. The Verge has a detailed guide to the settings that are worth changing, including some less obvious options like disabling the Similar Account Suggestions toggle, which stops Instagram from suggesting your account to other users.

Locking down your privacy on Instagram can be as simple as setting your profile to “private.” But you can get a lot more granular than that, and there is a range of other protections you can put in place. You can keep your account public but make it a little more protected, or even add stricter protections than simply flipping the private profile switch gives you.

If you really want to keep your account safe, here’s what you can do.

Set your account to private

Setting your account to private is the simplest thing you can do to lock down your profile. It means that, going forward, no one can see your photos or stories unless you approve them.

Once your account is private, new people who visit your profile will only see your name and profile image. From there, they can request to follow you, and you have to confirm their request before they can see your photos or stories.

To set your account to private:

  • Go to Instagram’s settings menu. It’s hidden away on your profile page behind the hamburger button in the top-right corner. That will open a side menu with several choices; you can access your settings from the cog that appears at the very bottom.
  • From there, go to “Privacy” > “Account Privacy” and activate the “Private Account” setting.

One important caveat: anyone who already follows you at the time you change your account to private will still be following you. That means if there’s anyone you want to deny access to, you have to remove them from your followers list.

To remove someone who’s following you:

  • Go to your profile, and tap on your follower count
  • Scroll through your list, and tap the big “Remove” button beside the name of anyone you want to get rid of

Protect your stories

Instagram lets you limit who sees your stories (the reel of images that disappear after 24 hours) and stop people from sharing them even further.

To hide your story from specific people:

  • Go to “Settings” > “Privacy” > “Story”
  • Choose “Hide Story From.” It’ll open a list of your followers. Tap the circle beside their name to cut off access.

You can also prevent people from sharing your story:

  • Go to that same page (“Settings” > “Privacy” > “Story”). Scroll down to the bottom where there’s a section labeled “Sharing.”
  • You’ll see an option that says “Allow Sharing.” Turning this off will prevent people from messaging your stories to others.
  • You can also turn off “Allow Resharing to Stories” to prevent people from adding your posts to their stories.
  • To stop your stories from being shared to Facebook, disable “Share Your Story to Facebook.” This means they’ll only post to Instagram.

Finally, you can use Instagram’s Close Friends feature to limit the reach of your stories to specific people.

  • To set who’s in that group of people, go to “Settings” > “Privacy” > “Story”
  • Tap under Close Friends and start adding people. People won’t be notified when they’re added (or removed) from this group.

Block people from seeing your feed

When it comes to protecting the photos and videos posted to your feed, it’s much more of an all-or-nothing scenario than it is with stories.

If you don’t want to go private, you can still block individual users:

  • To block someone, you first have to go to their account. On their profile page, tap the three-dotted menu in the upper-right corner.
  • Click on “Block”

Make yourself less visible

There are a few things you can do to make yourself a little bit harder to find (and give out less information about yourself in the process).

First, you can stop sending your contacts to Instagram. You might have given Instagram access to your contacts initially to help find your friends when signing up, but it means that Instagram knows who’s in your phone book. To turn it off:

  • Go to “Settings” > “Account” > “Contacts Syncing”
  • Disable “Connect Contacts”

You can also stop Instagram from suggesting your account to others. This happens when someone follows a new account: Instagram will then display accounts it believes are “similar,” which you could be grouped into. You can’t change this using your mobile app. To turn this off:

  • Sign into Instagram’s website, and go to your profile
  • Select the “Edit Profile” button
  • Uncheck the very last option, “Similar Account Suggestions”

Finally, it’s worth checking to see whether any of your Instagram posts come up in a Google search. By default, Instagram doesn’t let Google find your photos, but if you ever signed into a third-party web viewer (and you might have in the years before Instagram was available on the web), it’s possible that site is scraping your profile and posting it for all to see.

If one or more of your posts does come up in your search, the first step to getting rid of it is to cut off third-party apps’ access to your Instagram account. You can do that on the mobile app:

  • Go to “Settings” > “Security” > “Apps and Websites” > “Active”
  • Remove any apps you aren’t using anymore

Protect what people see about you

You can drill down even further in limiting what in your account is visible to other people.

One big thing you can do is turn off your activity status so people can’t see when you’re online. (Be aware that, if you disable this, you won’t be able to see when other people are online either.)

  • Go to “Settings” > “Privacy” > “Activity Status”
  • Disable “Show Activity Status”

You might also want to review tagged photos before they’re posted to your profile. If you have a public account, reviewing every tag can stop spammers from filling up your profile. And if you have a private account, this can stop your friends from sticking an unflattering picture on your profile. To do this:

  • Go to “Settings” > “Privacy” > “Tags”
  • Enable “Manually Approve Tags”
Stop saving your posts and stories

You may not actually want to save the photos and videos you post to Instagram, especially your disappearing stories. There are a couple of things you can do to stop that.

To stop your stories from being saved:

  • Go to “Settings” > “Privacy” > “Story”
  • Turn off two settings. The first is “Save to Camera Roll” (on iOS) or “Save to Gallery” (on Android), which saves your stories to your phone. The second is “Save to Archive,” and turning that off stops Instagram from hanging onto your stories for you to view later after they’ve disappeared.

If you also want to keep your feed posts inside of Instagram:

  • Go to “Settings” > “Account” > “Original Posts”
  • Disable all three options (Save Original Posts, Save Posted Photos, and Save Posted Videos)

This will prevent the posts from being stored locally on your phone, but it also means that your only copy will be on Instagram.

Get rid of personalized ads

Instagram ads are based on websites you visit and apps you use. If you want to put a stop to this, it’s a little bit trickier. You actually have to hop over to Facebook, which owns Instagram.

To disable ad personalization, you first need to go to Facebook’s ad settings.

  • On mobile, in the Facebook app, tap the hamburger menu in the top right corner, then choose “Settings & Privacy” > “Settings”> “Ad Preferences” > “Ad Settings”
  • On the web, just click here to go to the “Your Ad Preferences” page, and then click on “Ad settings” to reveal your options.
  • You’ll want to turn off the top two options: “Ads based on data from partners” and “Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere.” This will stop Facebook from targeting you based on information it obtains outside of Instagram.

Google offers privacy controls that are so complex, they require a checkup tool. The tool can guide you through disabling ad personalization as well as turning off some of Google’s abundant data collection, including search history, YouTube watch history, location history, and more. We suggest paying special attention to the Google Photos options, as well as any settings that involve what others can see about you (like your profile, which shows up in many places, such as Google Maps reviews) and any third-party apps that have access to your data.

Google Authenticator

Google Authenticator is one of the most popular and widely used 2-factor authentication apps. It's a great way to add an extra layer of security to your online accounts, making it harder for unauthorized users to access your information. In this blog post, we will walk you through the Google Authenticator mobile app and show you how to set it up on your Android or iOS device. We will also discuss some of its features and how they can benefit your security.

One of the most popular forms of token-based 2FA is Google Authenticator. Here's how to use it.

 

 

You might not realize it, but Microsoft collects data about you, ranging from your general Windows privacy settings to who can see your Skype profile. You should go through all of the privacy settings for any Microsoft products you use.

Apple accounts don’t have many public-facing features, which means you don’t need to do much in relation to account privacy (most of Apple’s privacy controls are for third-party apps). But if you’ve ever shared an iCloud account with someone, check that you’re not sharing photos or your location unintentionally. You can opt out of personalized ads, too.

TikTok’s privacy settings allow you to restrict who can see your profile, who can comment, and who can see what videos you’ve liked. You can also disable ad personalization.

TikTok doesn't yet use superior security features like two-factor authentication. Thankfully, you can still make your TikTok account more secure by adding a verification code and changing a few key settings.

 

  1. Launch the TikTok app on your iPhone or Android device and then open the "Me" tab in the bottom right. Next, tap the three vertical dots to open the settings menu and then tap the "Manage My Account" option.

2. Add your phone number and email address here. Once you've added this info, TikTok will automatically send you a verification code any time you try to log in using your phone number.

3. You'll still be able to login as usual with your username and password, but logging in with your phone number and verification code instead may be an easier alternative than remembering a complex and secure password.

How to Stop TikTok from Saving Login Info

TikTok will automatically save your username and password. If others ever use your phone, you can increase your security by telling TikTok to always launch without logging into your account.

  1. To enable this setting, log in and tap the "Me" tab in the bottom right of the main screen. Select the three vertical dots in the top-right and then tap "Manage my Account". Deactivate the "Save Login Info" setting. Some Android, iPhone, or iPad devices may still try to save your password to that device.

How to See Who's Using Your TikTok Account

If you suspect someone of using your TikTok account, you can see which computers, smartphones, or tablets have accessed your account.

  1. From the app's Home screen, tap Me > three vertical dots > Manage My Account > Security. Any additional security alerts or warnings will be presented on this screen.
  2. Select "Your Devices" to explore all the logged-in devices that your account has been used on.

TikTok is for sharing, so its security isn't quite as tight as apps that store more private information. While that may change in the future, these settings can help you keep a closer eye on anyone who may be trying to access your account. You may also want to protect your privacy by deleting your TikTok watch history and disabling profile views.

 

Since LinkedIn is built for work, you might not think much about privacy on that platform, but it has several privacy options related to visibility, who can message you, and more. LinkedIn also has an entire section on how it uses the data it collects about you, including your search history, your demographics, and whether the company can use that data for research. Most of these options are on by default. If you don’t opt out of personalized ads, the company can leverage your work history, demographics, and education for advertisers.

Enable the Two-Step Verification Feature

Enabling the two-step verification feature is as important as setting a strong password. It can go the extra mile in keeping your LinkedIn account safe. It adds a security layer to your LinkedIn account.

To do this:

  1. Go to Me > Settings and Privacy.
  2. Select Sign in and Security.

Find Two-step Verification and click Turn on.

When you enable this feature, you will receive a security code on your phone via a text message every time you try to access your account. So, even if a hacker gets past your password, he or she must still verify that you are accessing the account.

Check for Connected Devices

  1. Under the Accounts section, there is a feature called "Where you're signed in." This feature allows you to check for the devices connected to your LinkedIn account. With this, you can see those devices that have access to your account.
  2. You can also see if you are accessing your account from a public place. It also lets you check if an unknown device has access to your LinkedIn account.

If so, then you must disconnect and change your password immediately.

Customize Your Public Profile, Protect Your Privacy

Your LinkedIn profile is set to public by default. So, this means your profile is visible to anyone on the platform. Now, some users are annoyed by this. If you are one of them, you can customize your profile to change these default settings.

To do this, you can:

  1. Select Me > Settings and Privacy.
  2. Click Visibility.
  3. Find and select Edit your public profile.

4.  Turn off your profile's public visibility under Edit Visibility.

Don't Connect Too Many Third-Party Apps

Connecting third-party apps to your LinkedIn account lets you enhance its functionality. However, when connecting such apps to your account, make sure that you read all the details related to the data you would share with them.

Such applications may use your information to create accounts or provide other services.

You should also note that the developer's terms of use may not allow you to use certain features of such apps when connected with your LinkedIn account.

Remember that when you connect a third-party app with your LinkedIn account, you agree to share certain information about yourself with it. So, don't connect apps that could compromise your data.

If you want to disconnect an app from your LinkedIn account:

  1. Open Me > Settings and Privacy.
  2. Select Data and Privacy > Other Applications on the left-hand menu.
  3. Click Other Applications.
  4. Find Permitted Services and click Change.

5. Here you will find all the third-party applications connected to your account.

6. Click Remove next to the ones that you want to disconnect.

Review Your Account and Privacy Settings

Reviewing your privacy settings allows you to secure your account and prevent hackers from gaining access to it.

You can do many things when you review your LinkedIn account. For instance, you can add or change your email address. You can also change how you want to share data with the third-party apps connected to your account.

When you review your account, you can also request LinkedIn archives your data. This can help you in many ways. You will be able to download a copy of your archived LinkedIn data, including all the conversations, posts, and other activities.

Consider archiving your LinkedIn profile at least once every month. That way, you will have access to your data if something goes wrong with your account or if you want to close it.

Keep Your LinkedIn Account Safe

Be sure to know what you are sharing and to whom before you post something. Don't accept requests from people you don't know without first checking their background. Restrict access to your profile when you connect with such people.

These are some of the best practices that you can follow to secure your LinkedIn account.

By default, Snapchat’s privacy settings limit your account to friends-only, but check the other options, especially the location-related setting, to confirm that you’re not leaking any more data than you intend to. As on other social networks, you can also opt out of personalized ads.

TURN 2-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION ON

  1. This way, every time you log in to Snapchat, it’ll ask you for your password and an OTP sent to the registered mobile number, providing an extra layer of security.
  2. To enable this feature, head to the settings in your Snapchat app by clicking on the Ghost or your profile icon at the top of the screen. Once done, tap on the ‘gear’ or Settings icon.

3. Scroll down to Login Verification and tap on it. In the new screen, scroll to the bottom and tap on Continue.

4. You can then choose to verify your profile via text or an authentication app and then feed the received code to the app.

TURN THE GHOST MODE ON FOR LOCATION

Snapchat recently added a feature that allows you to share your location with friends or contacts on your phone who follow Snapchat. By sharing the location, you allow your contacts to know your whereabouts. This way, they can practically track you anywhere all the time.

However, there is a simple fix to it. By enabling the ghost mode, you can avoid any such problem. This simply denies location access and you’re free to post without letting anyone know where you are.

enable this feature, head to the Snapchat settings. Scroll down to See My Location under the Who Can tab and tap on it. In the new screen, select Ghost Mode (if it isn’t selected already) and tap on Continue.

DISABLE QUICK ADD

If you’re really serious about your privacy, hiding from the Quick Add list is another useful way to protect your account. This way, friends of friends or people from your phone’s contact list will not be able to find and add you via the Quick Add feature on Snapchat.

Not all the friends of your friends are known to you nor do they have your phone number. Hence, it’s a good idea to directly add people you know or let your friends add you instead of taking the Quick Add route.

To disable Quick Add, access the Snapchat settings. Scroll down to the Who Can tab and find the See Me in Quick Add option. Uncheck the box on the next screen and you’re good to go.

STOP SHARING USAGE DATA

Well, these two things are not something that everyone would know as they are mostly hidden in layers and layers of settings for safekeeping. Even if you’re not actively sharing your location as we have already enabled the ghost mode, Snapchat can track your location and see what you’re doing, as it learns from your usage pattern.

By barring the app from accessing and sharing usage data, you can prevent the app from collecting data and profiling you. Did you know (this is acknowledged by Snapchat as well) that the app goes through layers of your personal data and understands things about you that even you were probably not aware of? Let’s just say, this is quite creepy!

disable this, access the Snapchat settings, scroll down to the Manage Preferences tab and find Ad Preferences. Un-check the Activity Based Ads box on the next screen.

 

National Cyber Security

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