Social media hackers ruin more than status

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The I-Team investigates what you can do to protect yourself from social media hackers.

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
The I-Team is warning about social media hackers that can put you in financial ruins.

Earlier this week, there were two high profile social media attacks on the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and another on the NFL.

Some tech experts say the social media hacking problem is getting worse and it can lead to identity theft.

The I-Team found out how and why it's happening, plus what you can do to stop it.

"I keep my phone numbers and some addresses on Facebook and I know you can put it on private," said Natalie Guzman.

You too may put a ton of private information on social media, but you may not know how big of a target your accounts can be.

"My Instagram account and Facebook account were both hacked and it really wasn't fun," said Nikki Payne.

"I definitely have had peers of mine hacked before," said Eric Sergio Pineda.

Two local security tech firms, including Keeper in the West Loop, tell the I-Team that social media is hacked more than any other kind of online service.

"Social media accounts are where we spend most of our social lives, at least online, so that's where we store a lot of our personal and private information," said Darren Guccione, the CEO and co-founder of Keeper.

One recent survey by the University of Phoenix suggests that two thirds of adults have been victims.

Experts also say that other studies report that 30,000 business websites are attacked daily. Websites which may store customer usernames and passcodes may be the same usernames and passcodes as customers' social media accounts.

"These accounts hold a lot of information about us: where we go, who we are, when we were born, what type of people we associate with, where we might be on a daily basis at any given time of the day," said Guccione

Accounts could also have a date of birth, cell phone and maiden names. Information which may help hackers open credit cards in your name.

"They can wreck you financially, absolutely destroy your financial wellbeing," said Guccione.

One username and password can also lead them to other social accounts and even directly to your banking.

"Chances are most of use the same passwords on multiple websites and that's the danger," said Guccione.

Another risk, most people stay signed on to the apps. But you should sign out regularly. If you're using social apps on an unsecured Wi-Fi network that can make your passwords and private info vulnerable.

"It is getting more and more real. If someone who wants your identity can have it and it's there," said Heidi Wagner.

Besides changing your password regularly, you should use strong ones with several different characters.

Use different usernames and passcodes for each social media account.

Lastly, limit your "friends" who you accept and reduce the private information you share

For more information:

- 63 percent of breaches are due to weak or poor passwords
- University of Phoenix College of Information Systems and Technology survey
- Verizon's 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report

Related Topics:
societyI-Teamsocial mediafacebooktwitterinstagramhacking
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