LinkedIn – 3 steps to keep your account from getting hacked

linkin-inAlong with Facebook, LinkedIn is another popular social media site. It is also a prime candidate for having an account compromised. As with any social media or website, there are several things that can be done to make it a less than appealing target and encourage the would be attacker to move to another less prepared account.

Use a Strong Password

For those that aren’t familiar with this term, a Strong Password is one that contains (where permitted by the website or service) a combination lower case letters, uppercase letters, numbers, punctuation or other special characters to make up a password. The longer the password is, the long it will take for someone to guess or hack your password. This is an area where I am probably as guilty as everyone else is on this. I have a “favorite” password or two that I liked to use in the past. This kept me from having to have a way to keep track of all the passwords that I used on different websites. With more websites adding additional layers of security such as challenge questions, etc., I have had to start using a password manager app to help keep track of the different passwords, the challenge questions and answers used on a particular website, the recovery procedure if I am locked out of a website, what additional login procedures I have used for that site, etc.

I use a password manager app called mSecure. It is a multi platform (i.e. Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, etc) app so that you have close to the same interface regardless of how you are using it. It also has several different ways to synchronize the password database so that you should also have the same version of the login information on each of your devices that you use it on. There are a variety of apps to choose from in this area, so look for the one that best works for you.

Use a Unique Password

This one will be a bit of a pain but the time taken to do this will pay off in the long run. Look at it this way, if one of your logins on a particular site is compromised or hacked, you have taken a step to minimize the potential for additional website logins to be breached as well. Most password manager apps have the functionality of helping you generate a unique password. There are other apps that do this as well. A search of the app store for your phone or the internet for you laptop/desktop should show you some options to look at.

Different websites have different rules for how you can make your password strong. Some will let you use “special” characters such as * or +, others wont let you use those characters but will make sure that you dont use a password that can be looked up as a dictionary word. Some will not allow the same character or number to be used repeatedly. Remember, the more uniqueness you can have in a password makes it that much more difficult for someone to hack your account.

Enabling Two Factor Authentication

The only 2 factor authentication supported by LinkedIn is a SMS message giving you the 6 digit code to use to authenticate your login. While you can give your cell phone as the recipient of the messages, another option is to establish a Google Voice number as the receiver of the SMS messages. Doing so allows you to redirect where the SMS message goes so that you always have a backup way of getting the code.

After you have logged into your LinkedIn account, click on the Account and Settings menu option (typically has your picture on it). Click on Account at the bottom left hand area of the screen. Under Settings, Click on Manage Security Settings. Click on Turn on. You will be prompted to enter the phone number to send the SMS message to. Before this setting is allowed to take effect, you will need to enter the 6 digit code that should arrive shortly. I normally see the code within 10 to 15 seconds.

At this point, you have two factor authentication setup. Using the combination of a strong password and two factor authentication, you have taken all the steps possible at this point to protect your account from being hijacked.

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