Written by Jo Langford, M.A.

In an ideal internet, you could exist and interact without worrying about hackers, malware, and cyber-attacks. Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in and taking safety measures to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is necessary. If you feel your account was hacked in any way, immediately change your passwords and notify a trusted adult. Read below to learn some important tips and tools to help protect yourself from being hacked.

Social Media
  • Work to create strong passwords that decryption programs can’t easily crack.
  • Commit to two-factor authentication to improve your security.
  • Do not share passwords. If needed, only share your passwords with a trusted caregiver; friends and intimate relationships may change and you don’t want just anyone having access to your personal information and social media accounts.

Screen Time

  • Most phishing and malware attacks are carried out via fake emails, so be careful clicking or downloading attachments or online links from people you do not know.
  • If/when you can’t avoid public WI-FI, use a secure network or an app to create a VPN (virtual private network).
  • Avoid posting any personal information or details that might allow a hacker to guess your security questions. Many social media quizzes are designed to get that information from you.
  • If you are tricked into disclosing personal information by a targeted scam, change your login, password, and PINs (personal identification numbers) on the real site, then notify your banks and/or the business where the fraud occurred. Ask to speak to their fraud department.
  • Never install software mods from unrecognized links sent via emails, instant messaging, etc. Instead, only go to the official app store or game store to install the games.
  • If anyone besides you has gained access into your account, you should change your password immediately.
  • If you have been hacked, warn your contacts not to click on suspicious messages that may have been sent using your account; flag specific messages if you can, and delete them from your feed.