Has one of your social media accounts been hacked? How would you know if it was – and more importantly, what should you do? The following tips tackle these thorny questions heads on!
1. Posts that you didn’t write appear suddenly on your wall!
Sounds obvious – right? But can you always tell? For instance, if several bloggers contribute posts to the same account, will you know who was supposed to post which article and when? This can be especially dangerous if you use a tool to help you share your blog posts over different social media channels. Let’s be honest: who really checks every tweet and post?
If you notice unexpected posts on your social media accounts, delete them immediately and change your password. You might also want to consider a two factor authentication.
2. Somebody logged into your account from an unusual location
Most social media services these days enable you to check the location of your last logins including the devices you logged in from. So if you are in Germany and you see that someone logged in on a different continent, chances are your account was hacked.
Regularly check the locations where you supposedly logged in. If you notice an open session in an unexpected location, terminate it. A step-by-step guide on how to do that in Facebook can be found here.
3. Spammy ads flood your Facebook page
Ever heard of likejacking? Spammy messages and / or posts from friends? Facebook has it all. Most of the time you’ll receive such posts / messages by friends whose accounts got hacked. Often, when you click on the links you see in those posts, you’ll get hacked yourself. No matter what: In the end the users are the losers and the cyber criminals get away without any punishment for their actions.
Be careful what you click on – that goes not only for Facebook, by the way. If you hear from a friend you haven’t heard from in some time or if a friend tries to make sure you click on some link that to you sounds fishy: don’t. Contact your friend via other means than social media to make sure it’s really him.
4. You are unable to login to your account
Assuming that you didn’t simply forget your password, it might be that someone accessed your account and changed your password. Please note that if this is indeed the case, the cyber criminals most likely have also replaced the email address used to recover the password.
Contact the owner of the platform (e.g.: Facebook, Twitter) – it’s the best way to claim your account back. Here are a couple of links:
- Twitter: https://support.twitter.com/forms/hacked
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hacked
- G+: https://www.google.com/accounts/recovery
- Instagram: https://help.instagram.com/149494825257596
5. You’re suddenly following a lot of new, unknown people
Are you all of a sudden following lots of new and unknown people? Malware may hijack your account and make you follow spambots on Twitter or Facebook. This then further spreads malicious URLs to more people. The same applies for a host of private messages/tweets sent from your account – unbeknownst to you.
Change your password immediately. We also recommend you delete the posts and let everyone know that they should not click on the links posted from your account during the period of time when you were hacked.
We also have a couple of guides on what best to do if the above is to general for you: