Socially Secure

The recent hacks into the official Twitter accounts of Burger King, Jeep and the Associated Press can make any social media manager wonder about the security of his or her own accounts. Yet, just as there is security technology for online banking, email and shopping, there are precautions you can take and guidelines you can follow to better protect your community bank’s official social media accounts.

Here are some ideas to get started:

1. The fewer people who have access to your passwords, the better. To ensure faster response to customers, sometimes it’s necessary and useful to have multiple people access your bank’s social media accounts. Yet there are better ways to provide people limited access to those accounts. For example, you can decide to have one person have direct access to Twitter and give everyone else access to a third-party posting application, such as HootSuite. This way, if there’s something fishy going on with your account, you can immediately change the password and revoke other access through the third-party app. When the issue is resolved, you can easily restore the broader access.

2. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have additional verification steps for logging in. It may be inconvenient, but it’s much better than having a hack tainting your bank’s reputation online. Twitter recently announced a new verification feature that allows a random code to be sent to a mobile device connected to your account. This provides an extra layer of security and will also alert you if someone is trying to log into your account.

3. Use strong passwords, beware of phishing emails (share your login information guardedly, even if a request looks like it came from an official email) and be cautious when using mobile logins. The standard security measures that apply to other online activities apply in the social setting. Changing your passwords quarterly can also strengthen your security. Sometimes a few training and education sessions can get employees up to speed on security procedures and specific threats as well.

Ann Chen is ICBA’s senior social media specialist.