This dramatized story is a real-life account of an young man's SnapChat memories - including very private photos - being leaked publicly. The kicker is, that it wasn't even done for ransom money, it was done just because the criminal was able to do it.
Protect Your Privacy
Unfortunately, criminal hackers can sometimes just be pranksters who expose your private information just because they can or because it's simply them honing their skills. They don't care who you are, just that you were easy practice.
The incident in this scenario didn't actively involve any 'misstep' such as clicking on a malicious link or openly sharing passwords. Most likely it was caused by not keeping passwords unique or updated after a known data breach.
Social Media Safety Tips:
So what can we do to prevent our social media accounts becoming an easy target?
- Don't Use Social Media Apps to store private photos - If you love using Instagram, Snapchat or any other social media app because of their filters, have fun! Just keep in mind that these accounts are targeted by cyber criminals and are often hacked. So don't keep any private photos on these apps.
Use one password for each social media account - don't reuse them for multiple logins. Need help managing all those unique passwords? There's a password manager for that - learn about it here.
Make sure your password is long and strong - but it doesn't have to be a jumble of random characters, try using a passphrase. Learn more about how to create a strong password here.
Turn on MFA (multi-factor authentication) - this adds a second layer of protection to your accounts so that even if your password is used, a criminal can't get in as they don't have access to your authenticator device/app.
One other point to note is that it wasn't just the owner of the account whose privacy was exposed but his girlfriend's as well. When we protect ourselves and our digital privacy, we also protect all those whose digital lives are connected to ours.
Want to know more? Here's a few more tips everyone should be doing to stay safer online.