They could also use malicious software to steal passwords to gain access to social networks. A clear example is a keyloggerwhich is responsible for recording all the keystrokes and in this way also collects the access codes that we put when logging into an account.
But they can also use other varieties, such as Trojans for example. With this type of malware they can control a device remotely and act as if they are there. They could, for example, enter the social network if you have saved the session in the browser without having to enter the password again.
brute force attacks
Another method they use to illegitimately access a social network is brute force attacks. If you use a password that isn’t very good, doesn’t meet the right requirements, or isn’t predictable, such an attack can steal the access key and allow an attacker to hijack it.
What a hacker does in this case is to use tools with which they try different combinations until they find the correct one. For this they will use certain words or digits that may be more common. For example names, dates, etc. This is how they manage to enter platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and the like.
In addition, another way to hijack social networks is when a bug appears in the platform itself. A vulnerability that can explode, for example. Also when there is a security leak and all accounts are exposed. An attacker could take advantage of this and steal the passwords.
In this case it is not something that depends on the user, since it is a failure of the platform itself. However, it is up to the user to take action as soon as possible, such as changing the password once a failure has been detected that could have exposed the key.
What do they achieve by stealing the accounts
Why do hackers want to hijack social networks? The truth is that they will be able to use them for different purposes. They usually do it to make a profit in some way, but also simply to discredit a social network or harm a specific user.
Steal personal information
The first thing they look for when hijacking social networks is to steal personal information. For example, knowing where we live, where we work, who our contacts are… All this can also be used to create a profile about us and that has great value on the Internet, since that information can be sold to third parties.
For example, they could use that data to include us in a spam campaign. They can also send targeted advertising. By knowing more about us, by having personal information and information about our environment, they will be able to have greater control over the data and use it according to their interest.
attack third parties
By having access to Facebook, Instagram and other similar social networks, they will also be able to access other users and carry out attacks. They could see the list of friends and even impersonate our identity and send them a message pretending to be us in order to click on a link or download something.
In this way they will be able to create a chain of attacks. They may also gain access to other accounts and continue their expansion. This way they will achieve a large number of attacks and cause a domino effect to reach more and more users.
In addition, another very common use of social network hijacking is to be able to promote something or increase the visits or followers of a certain account. For example, they could use our Facebook account to Like a certain page or start following a user on Instagram.
The goal here is simply artificially increase visits of a page or the visibility of a social network profile. By having access to our account they will be able to follow, give a Like and ultimately act as if they were us.
Access other linked services
On social networks like Facebook you will be able to link other services. For example, if you register on a platform you can link it to the social network, a web page or even other social networks. A way to be able to access other accounts more easily or even share contacts between them.
Now, if an attacker has access to a social network to which you have linked other services, he will also be able to have control over those other services. They will be able to know what you use, impersonate your identity, stop following or following accounts, etc.
How to be protected
After explaining what social media hijacking is and how an attacker can accomplish it, we’re going to give you some essential tips to stay protected. With these recommendations you can prevent intruders from entering your accounts and always keep your data safe.
Always use strong passwords
The first safety barrier should be having a good password. It is not enough to put any password, but it must be totally secure to prevent an attacker from entering. This way you’ll be able to avoid brute force attacks, since you’re going to use a really strong one that can’t be easily figured out.
A strong password should be totally random and have a good length. Each additional symbol is going to make the security increase exponentially. It must contain letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and special characters. You should never use the same password in more than one place.
Activate two-step authentication
But beyond using a good password, you should also enable two-step authentication. Social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter allow you to use this option. What it does is enable an extra layer of security. This way you will be able to protect the account correctly and nobody could enter even if they had your password.
Two-step authentication requires extra verification. It is usually a code that we receive by SMS, email or when using 2FA applications such as Google Authenticator. This will create heightened security so that an intruder cannot enter without permission.
Keep equipment in good condition
Of course, it is also essential to have the devices well protected. For this, it is essential to have a good antivirus. There are many types, both free and paid, but you should always choose one that works properly and meets your expectations in terms of security.
A good option is Microsoft Defender, the antivirus that comes integrated with Windows. But you can also find other options like Avast or Bitdefender that also work very well to detect and remove threats. It is a security barrier that will prevent malware like keyloggers that can hijack your social networks.
But to maintain the security of the equipment it is also necessary to have the latest versions. You should always have the operating system updated and correct possible vulnerabilities that may appear. In the case of Windows, you must go to Start, enter Settings and click on Windows Update. There it will show you possible updates that may be.
Always use official apps
Whenever you are going to use social networks, it is very important that you use official apps. It is true that sometimes you may find yourself with the option to install a different program, which has additional functions and features, but this could be a security problem.
That app could be insecure. It could have vulnerabilities, be outdated, or even have been created with the goal of stealing information and putting accounts at risk. Therefore, you should always use the official ones and also download them from secure sites, such as the social network’s own website or use stores such as Google Play.
But if there is something important that cannot be missing, it is common sense. Is essential not make mistakes. In fact, hackers almost always need the victim to make a mistake. For example, clicking on a fake link, downloading a dangerous file, using a specific program, etc.
Therefore, what you should do is make sure that you always maintain security when browsing, when opening social networks and not exposing more data than necessary. In this way you can be more protected on the network and reduce the risk of your Facebook account or any other social network being stolen.
In short, as you have seen, the hijacking of social networks is an obvious problem that can put your privacy and security at risk. You must take measures to be protected as best as possible and not expose your data at any time. You can follow the recommendations we have given.