Jane Binnion column

Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.
Jane Binnion from Lancaster, social media trainer.

Before I set up my training business I was a youth and community worker where I trained workers and the community to keep themselves and their children safe from violence.

As a social media trainer I’m now often asked about keeping safe online as organisations ask if their social media accounts can be hacked.

Yes, your accounts can get hacked, so can your email and your website. But just like personal safety, you can do things to minimise the risk.

Don’t make it easy for hackers. People create simple passwords that are easy to remember. 123456 is still the most popular with the slightly better abc123 a close second. You can stay safer by using a combination of upper and lower case letters plus numbers.

If you sign up to something and get sent a password, change it straight away.

I know it’s a pain, but dealing with the fallout is worse. Changing it a few times a year is a good habit to get into.

Don’t use the same password for everything. Having the same password for Facebook and your on-line bank account for example is definitely not a good plan.

If you share a computer, log out when you’ve finished. This is particularly important on a public computer.

Put a password on your mobile devises. My friend, a youth worker, was out for drinks and left her phone on the table when she went to the loo. She had no idea her drinking companions had gone into her Facebook page and posted some pretty unpleasant stuff on her profile.

They were just messing about after a few beers, but it would have got her disciplined if her employer had seen it.

Obviously do get anti-virus software installed, but also avoid clicking on links in emails that you don’t know. If someone sends you an email with only a link don’t click on it. There are loads of dud emails out there pretending to be the Tax office, the bank, saying parcels are being delivered etc.

And never give a cold caller remote access to your computer. There was a big scam recently by guys claiming to be from Microsoft and making themselves a lot of money from unsuspecting folk.

It’s a fast changing world so a good rule is, if in doubt don’t do it.