This is how you can protect your social media accounts from getting hacked

Woman worried by what she's reading from her phone.
Woman worried by what she's reading from her phone.
Skynasher/Getty Images

The hacking of social media accounts is slowly becoming common practice and the latest celebrity to fall victim is actor and musician, Anga Makubalo - who is popularly known by his stage name, Naakmusiq.

On Tuesday evening, Twitter users witnessed a hacker takeover the musician’s account and post images of an unknown man.

The hacker has since removed Naakmusiq’s profile picture and replaced it with the image of the same man he’s been posting.

Read More| Anga Makubalo shows off his beautiful mansion

Naakmusiq is not the first celebrity to go through this ordeal. Over the years a number of celebs including Kwesta, Somizi and Takkies had their WhatsApp hacked and the scammers were asking for money from their contacts pretending to be them.

Read More| Easy to hack common passwords used by women

However, celebrities are not the only people who can fall victim to scammers and hackers. Ordinary people should be alert of hackers at all times to prevent being victims.

Here are steps you should follow to protect yourself from getting hacked.

1. Use strong passwords

According to securedatarecovery, the most common ways that hackers break into computers and apps is by guessing passwords. Simple and commonly used passwords enable intruders to easily gain access and control of a computing device.

A strong password should consists of at least ten characters and have a combination of characters such as commas, percent signs, parentheses, as well as upper-case and lower-case letters and numbers.

These long and complex passwords require more effort and time for a hacker to guess. It is also important not to use the same password for two or more devices, as hackers who break into one machine will try to use the same password to take control of others.

2Enable two-factor authentication

Complex recommends adding two-step verification to all your social media accounts. While a password can be obtained through other means (such as phishing), a second step password is a random set of characters sent directly to your personal device, which means an attacker would need both your email password and your phone, tablet, or laptop to access your accounts.

Adding two-step verification only adds a few seconds to your log-in process and could potentially save you a lot of trouble if a hacker tried to get your emails.

3. Check whose been accessing your account

You can do this by making sure that your login records match your own activity. If there’s an IP address or timestamp that doesn’t look familiar, it could mean someone other than you accessed your account, and in that case, you should change your password ASAP.

4. Use trusted devices

Avoid logging onto your private accounts using public computers such as the ones from libraries or internet café’s. If you have to check your email or Facebook away from a trusted device, consider updating your password later that day, so that even if your password was obtained by someone else, they won’t be able to use it to gain access to your accounts.

5. Install encryption software

Speaking to Entrepreneur South Africa, founder of the Uber brands, Jonathan Long suggested that antivirus software should be installed to prevent hackers from accessing accounts.

“Many internet service providers (ISPs) will provide some form of security protection -- you can compare local ISPs to see if there are better options available in your immediate area, or you can install an antivirus program, such as AVG, which does offer a free version. I would suggest going with the pro version, but if you are on a tight budget the free version is definitely better than no protection at all,” he said.

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