Top 10 Tips – Social Media Security




In recent months a number of sports stars, including RPA members, have been targeted by hackers who are accessing accounts and causing mayhem.

In recognition of this the RPA’s social media lawyer, Matt Himsworth, has put together the top 10 tips for protecting your security online. 


– Sort your security out. Hacking is one of the biggest threats to us online. Hackers target social media accounts and email addresses all the time and will often target those with verified accounts (the blue tick!) particularly. Ensure that you have a strong password (no less than 10 characters) and don’t use the same password for different accounts.


– Two-factor authentication. Continuing the security theme, two-factor authentication, two-step verification or login verification – whatever the App or Email provider calls it, do it. It’s an added layer of security which supplements the traditional username and password security model.


– Don’t offer up a gold mine. If you email or social media app was hacked – what would the hacker find? Are your emails full of personal information? Are your direct messages on Instagram eye-watering? Do a tidy up – the less private information that could be mined, the better.


– Email – the path to everything. Your email is perhaps your most important app to secure. You need an email address for all accounts – social media, online purchases, gambling apps, whatever accounts you have, your email address is associated. If a hacker cracks your email, then he could start to take over all of your communications.


– Who are you? If you don’t know or recognise someone who wants to connect with you through social media, think before you add them. Even if they appear to be connected to your other friends or followers, remember, not everyone online is who they say they are nor do they have the best intentions. If you are unsure, don’t connect with them, or do some background checks before you do.


– Too good to be true. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! Don’t fall for the honey trap or the ‘follow this link’ hacking attack.


– What are the kids up to? If you have children and they use social media, talk to them about social media, the benefits and the pitfalls. Make sure you have sight of their account and what content they are sharing by setting up notifications so that you are alerted to content that they are sharing.


– Identity theft. The amount of data that we share online about our lives is remarkable, especially through social media, even if we don’t realise it. Identity theft is on the increase and those with ulterior motives are turning to social media accounts to access your personal data. Be wary of what you post through your social media account so as to avoid so called ‘jigsaw’ profiling. On their own, a picture of your home with location services enabled; a video of the family pet; a posting thanking friends and family for their birthday wishes; and updates about the weather from your sun lounger when on a family holiday are innocent enough, right? Taken together, however, information about your home, address, date of birth and location status present all sorts of security issues. On holiday and not at home – perfect intel for burglars. Date of birth, pet names and your partner’s name – commonly used passwords, giving a hacker a head start.


– Mum’s the word. Before you get your phone out and start typing, think! Think about what it is that you are about to share with the world, even if you have locked down your privacy settings, there is still a risk that what you are posting might be shared more widely than your friends and followers. If you wouldn’t want your mum to see or read what you are about to post, don’t share it!


– Stay on the right side of the law. In the same way that the national media are bound by the law, the law applies just as equally to you when you share content on social media. Whether it is an infringement of someone else’s legal rights, or the committal of a criminal offence, don’t stray into dangerous territory. The laws of defamation, privacy and even specific legislation which governs the content of electronic communications, are regularly deployed in relation to social media content. At the lower end of the scale, in certain circumstances a communication that causes annoyance or inconvenience can result in up to six months free board at Her Majesty’s pleasure. At the other end of the scale, an indecent, offensive, threatening or obscene communication will extend your stay to 12 months. It sometimes isn’t necessary for the communication to be received, just the fact that it was sent will be enough.


If you require any further assistance with your social media security please get in touch with the RPA’s social media lawyer Matt Himsworth on or alternatively please speak to the RPA’s Digital Content Editor on or 020 3053 6670.