11/04/2018 14:52 SAST | Updated 11/04/2018 14:52 SAST

5 Ways To Avoid Becoming Facebook's Next Data Victim

You can easily make a few small changes to your profiles to safeguard your personal data from cybercriminals.

bigtunaonline via Getty Images

In the wake of the Facebook controversy, in which the company was accused of allowing Cambridge Analytica to misuse the data of 87-million of its users, you may have started to question whether the information you put on social media is really safe. Some of you might have also started to think about alternatives such as deleting your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, or going back to old-fashioned pigeon, letter and fax communication.

The truth of the matter is you really don't have to. You can easily make a few small changes to your profiles to safeguard your personal data from cybercriminals, untrustworthy third parties or apps – and even potential employers.

According to Hospitality Technology, here are five things you can do to Improve your social-media security:

1. Change your password frequently

Some people tend to use the same password for years – maybe now is as good a time as any to change your login credentials and boost your social media security. A good way to build a strong password is to combine both letters and numbers; this makes it more difficult for other people to work out.

2. Use multi-factor authentication

This is more or less a password for your password. It is a cybersecurity feature that "double locks" your profile and prevents your personal data from ending up in the wrong hands.

3. Limit your share settings

Yes, it's fun posting your moments on your accounts for your friends, family and fans to see, but remember not everyone on social media has your best interests at heart. Consider adjusting your setting to limit who you share your information with, especially on Facebook. This will mean that you only send information (your photos, status updates, likes etc.) to those you trust.

screenshot/Sesona Ngqakamba

4. Be cautious of careless clicking

Always be careful of where you click. You could accidentally install a third-party app, for example, or click on a link that takes you to a malicious site.

According to Hospitality Technology, cybercriminals are increasingly using social media platforms like Facebook to distribute malware via phishing campaigns.

5. Log out of your account

We use many devices to login to networks, especially for Facebook. If you use a public computer or take your laptop to work, another person could access your profile when you're not around. If you want to improve online safety, make sure you actually log out of your account when you finish working on these devices.

It is important to remain vigilant while using social media, so as not to become the next one in the headlines as a data-breach victim.

Facebook has created a tool to let you know if you or any of your friends logged into the "This Is Your Digital Life" app, which was what ultimately shared data with Cambridge Analytica.