Openness on the Internet is dangerous
A large part of modern human life boils on social networks, personal, private information is shared on accounts. “Having a social network account and the content on it often have a big impact on a person’s personal life. They have become like a person’s business card, the design of which can change depending on the emotions and desires of that moment. Social media accounts are becoming more and more important because they make it easier for people to talk about themselves, express themselves, and communicate more easily. It can be said that it is a bridge between easy-to-communicate and closed individuals, which makes it possible for everyone to communicate more easily,” says Karolina Gurskienė, psychologist and director of Psichomera UAB.
Anyone can lose their social network account to hackers, but the more open it is, the more accessible it becomes. “The more personal information is placed on a social network, and especially when it is available to everyone, published in the “public” mode, the easier it is to hack into such an account. For example, a hacker can find a person’s workplace or the name of a service provider, pretend to be an employee of that institution and, with the help of social engineering, extract login data to a social network account or other systems,” says Karolis Rinkevičius, head of the IT department of Compensa Vienna Insurance Group.
Hackers are also attracted to the accounts of famous people and opinion leaders, because their large number of followers can be used for their own purposes, for example, by publishing their own advertisements. In order to attract followers, opinion leaders share personal details of their family life, the names of their children’s schools, photos of where they live, and their favorite places, but the accounts of many other people are also characterized by immeasurable openness.
According to K. Rinkevičius, hackers may seek to use the audience of the social network to spread their information, find valuable information, for example, bank passwords, home alarm codes, addresses, and some are just having fun in this way or have the goal of compromising.
Fear of publicity
When you notice that your social network account has been hacked, there are many unpleasant feelings – shame, anger, hopelessness, fear. According to psychologist K. Gurskienė, although people willingly share the details of their personal lives on social networks, when hackers take over an account, a fear of publicity arises – normally we cannot hear each other’s private conversations, but when someone else’s personal social space is hacked, such an opportunity arises and the feeling that someone dives into the “underwear” and analyzes the contents – very unpleasant.
“As with all sharp emotions that appear suddenly, the first thing you should do is to calm down. Decisions made under the influence of high levels of emotion are equivalent to decisions made under the influence of alcohol. You should ask yourself: What should I do now to “get sober”? You can talk to a trusted person, walk three laps around the house and let the wind take your mind, or fall to the ground and feel anxiety while doing push-ups. And only after that – decisions”, emphasizes K. Gurskienė.
The psychologist noticed that in cases where hackers gained access not to a personal account, but to a workplace account that was trusted, a person still feels a strong sense of guilt. In this case, the incident should first be reported to the workplace administration, which will immediately take the necessary actions, so the resulting feeling of fear and guilt will decrease, and in addition, the employee will receive the support of colleagues.
How to recognize that it has been hacked?
K. Rinkevičius explained that it is not so easy to notice that the account has been hijacked. In not all cases, the hacker changes the password of the account. There are several signs that your account has been hacked: message that you connected from another device when you didn’t, you receive a large amount of advertising, information is distributed in your name that you did not write, friends receive messages from you that you did not create, you start “liking” pages that you did not choose.
“If you believe that someone else has access to your account, but you can log in yourself, immediately change your password to a complex password of at least 8 characters and with special characters and numbers. The password should be changed for all accounts you use. Before changing your password, make sure that your e-mail address is correct. email is used for password recovery. It is also worth using the two-factor authentication mechanism, then your identity will be verified in several ways and the account will be more secure”, K. Rinkevičius shares his advice.
Recovering a hijacked account can take time and patience. K. Rinkevičius states that in cases where you cannot connect to your account, the only way is to contact the social network administration and carefully follow the instructions provided by it. Even in cases where you can access the account and manage to get rid of the intruder on your own, it is advisable to inform the administration of the social network about the attempt to steal the account.