5 tips for keeping your phone safe from hackers - though survey says friends could be biggest threat to your Facebook and Twitter security

What might your friends be doing on your social media accounts when you're not looking?

What might your friends be doing on your social media accounts when you're not looking?

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , web manager

Never mind overseas criminals accessing your information, the biggest threat to your social media security could be closer to home.

You might think organised gangs hacking companies’ servers or porn and pill peddlers using your account to send out spam messages are the worst dangers.

But actually it’s your friends you should be keeping an eye on.

Research has found one in five people have had their social media accounts accessed by people they know.

While so-called mates creating embarrassing posts may be the main risk, the threat posed by outside sources still looms large.

Around one in six people surveyed had, had their social media accounts hacked into maliciously.

Among smartphone owners, 63 per cent of those who had been hacked said an outside source had gained access to their Facebook account without their permission, with 19 per cent having their Twitter accounts compromised.

When asked about what worries them most about strangers seeing the contents of their phones, five per cent of people admitted to being worried about others seeing sexually explicit photographs or videos of themselves or someone else.

Young people aged between 18-24 are more worried about strangers seeing their personal and financial information (37 per cent) than the older generation, with just 22 per cent of 45-54-year-olds and 16 per cent of 55-and-overs saying this was a concern.

After the online YouGov poll from Protect Your Bubble, the gadget insurance provider has written a handy anti-hacking guide to keeping your phone safe:

Lock it up

Many phone owners still don’t use the lock function on their phone, perhaps considering them too much of a hassle. But they’re not as much of a hassle as having your personal information stolen. Passcodes have been joined by pattern and fingerprint identification, so there are lots of options for making sure only you can access your handset.

Update your software

Software updates are not just about adding new features and fixing bugs in the operating systems, they’re also about fixing security vulnerabilities the manufacturer has identified. So keep your software updated.

Get virus protection

Virus protection is universally accepted as a necessity on your computer or laptop, but many still don’t see it as important for a smartphone. Yet if you use your phone to access the web in the same way, you’re susceptible to the same viruses and malware.

Get your head in the cloud

Securing your personal information on a remote cloud server, which has its own stringent security in place, rather than on your handset puts another barrier between your data and hackers who would seek to steal it.

Shop carefully

Be careful when downloading apps from untrusted sources. If you find a website offering you an app to download, search for it on the App Store, Windows Store or Google Play Store and download it from there – that way you can be confident you’re not downloading anything malicious along with it.

What’s the worst thing that’s happened when someone has got into one of your social media accounts? Do you take care to keep your computer or phone protected, even from your friends? Add your comments below.

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