How to choose the right social media protection software

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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Choosing the right social media protection software

Social media started out as a new way for people to connect and share their life experiences. In time, it has evolved into big platforms that offer a way to consume news (Twitter), create fan communities (Facebook), search for a job (LinkedIn), create and promote your own brand (Instagram), and so much more. This means that keeping your accounts secure is more important than ever.
Whether you are a person or a business, there are tools you can use to lower the risks of damaging your own image, or losing access to your social media accounts. From free tools to premium solutions that cost a pretty penny, here’s how to choose the right one for your needs.

Covering the basics: social login security

The most important aspect about the security of an online account is the login password. Many people choose a very weak password, so it’s best to begin there. A good rule of thumb is to make it as long as possible – aim for at least 12 characters. Most social networks will ask you to use at least one upper case letter, one number, and one special character, but in reality it’s just better to aim for a lengthy password that you can easily remember.

Comic showing how longer passwords are better

XKCD Comic by Randall Munroe

You can find tools that can help you generate secure passwords, but you’ll have to keep those safe. Password Managers are growing in popularity, and they provide a lot of convenience and security in both free and paid versions. Notable examples are LastPass, Enpass, Dashlane, RoboForm, and 1Password, but there’s no shortage of options out there.

A password manager will also do the remembering for you. You will only have to use a “master password”, which is the key to a ‘vault’ where all the login details are stored encrypted. Paid versions analyze the strength of your passwords, and notify you to change them if a service has been hacked.

Lastly, make sure to use multi-factor authentication whenever possible, as it’s free and easy to set up using a mobile phone and QR codes. Popular tools like Google Authenticator, LastPass Authenticator, and Microsoft Authenticator will provide you with a one-time ‘security code’ every time you log in on a new device, ensuring you’re the real owner of that account.

Using an antivirus to avoid scams and phishing

If you’re not already using an antivirus on your Windows PC, there are at least five good reasons why you should. In short, the online threats have only grown with the rise of social media. In turn, the antivirus has evolved to match the increased complexities of online security.

Image of the BItdefender Web Protection Module

For example, Bitdefender offers a web protection module in all of their paid tiers. When activated, it will scan all the links that others share with you. This will prevent you from accessing suspicious pages, such as social media scams on Facebook and Twitter. Even a skeptic eye is not enough, as some scammers manage to create almost perfect replicas of legitimate brands.

There are situations where the Facebook team will block a user account if they detect suspicious behavior. In these cases, you can download a small program which enables you to get back into your account and clean your device of malware. Mind you that while effective, this solution is only temporary – make sure to use a good antivirus.

Taking it to the next level with cloud protection

Perhaps you are a parent looking to keep your children safe online. You may be interested in filtering the content they find on social media and protecting them from cyber-bullying and stalking. There are many options available, and choosing between them can get a little confusing. But let’s talk about what might be the best – even if it’s not exactly the cheapest.

Net Nanny is a great ‘internetfiltering tool’, which greatly reduces the profanity and blocks adult sites. It also has a social component, designed specifically to monitor children activity on popular sites. This includes Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, among others. From instant messaging to image and video posting, Net Nanny Social records everything – even what friends are doing.

Parents have access to a dashboard where they can see an overview of their kids’ activity. This includes the current threat level for stalking and bullying. You’ll get notified by SMS only when action is necessary, and there’s no need for any software installation. This is a cloud-based service, which means you can set up and do everything from the comfort of your browser.

Cloud protection is a must for business owners

If you own a business, managing your always-on social media presence is very important. Protecting your brand image isn’t just about what happens on your official pages, but also about making sure you track what your employees are doing on their pages. A simple bad tweet can do irreparable damage, but there are ways to reduce these risks to a minimum.

One good example is Hootsuite, which is great even for professionals who work alone. This cloud service allows you to do monitoring, analytics, engagement, and security in one package. Security is actually provided via a platform called Zerofox, which integrates seamlessly with your Hootsuite stream.

Visual representation of important social media security features in Hotsuite

Using these tools will help you set an approval system for social posts. This will give you control the level of access for each user, and flag sensitive content. On top of that, you get automated protection against hijacking. Nothing is worse than brand impersonation or having an executive lose control of their social media account.

A good rule of thumb is that security is only as good as the weakest link. Attackers have devised ways to piece together the information they need by targeted phishing, which can translate into data leaks. In today’s fast moving world, using a service like Hootsuite is just as important as having a contingency plan.