In that past week some serious online hacking has gone on. Between Mat Honan, Reuters and the Major League Baseball Facebook accounts, we’ve seen a series of online hacking that has hopefully served as a wake-up call for many of us.

Mat Honan faced the worst of it when his Amazon account, Apple ID, Google accounts and Twitter were all hacked allowing the hackers to access his very confidential information, not to mention the ability to erase his entire MacBook, iPhone and iPad, which of course, they did. It’s a serious situation that Honan found himself in and his story has many valuable lessons. You can read Honan’s story here.

Reuters was hacked both on their blog, with the hackers posting at least 2 false stories in favour of the Assad Regime, and within 24 hours Reuters had lost control of their Twitter account to the same hackers.

The MLB faced a series of Facebook hacks on many of their teams’ fan pages. The Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, the Miami Marlins and the San Francisco Giants all found themselves victim to a rogue Facebook administrator.

The good that has come from all of this

On the bright side, these major hackings – especially Honan’s – have led to the realization of how easy it is for a hacker to, within mere minutes, gain complete access to our private information. I’m talking AppleID, credit card numbers and more. Both Amazon and Apple have released statements saying that they are in the process of changing their policies pertaining to the way users access their account information.

Amazon has stated that users will no longer be able to change their personal information, such as email accounts and credit card numbers, by phone. This is a step in the right direction.

Apple has stated that users will not be able to reset their AppleID over the phone, and that they are currently in the process of reviewing their processes for resetting account passwords. Another step in the right direction when it comes to safe-guarding our extremely private information.

As for Facebook, well, they simply released a statement to ABC news saying that:

“Recently, several pages made unauthorized posts as a result of actions from a single rogue administrator of these pages. Our team responded quickly and worked with our partners to eliminate the inappropriate messages caused by this attack. This was a unique, isolated incident and we are always working to improve our systems to better protect our users and their data.”

What can you do to protect yourself and your company from hackers?

It’s great to hear that companies are taking the security of our private information and access to our accounts more seriously, but it shouldn’t end there. There are steps that you should be taking to protect yourself as well.

Here are 5 simple steps that you should take to protect both your and your company’s different online accounts:

  • Use two-factor authentication for Gmail
  • Keep your WordPress and other platforms updated and current at all times
  • Use different passwords for each of your different accounts
  • Try not to cross-link important accounts
  • Back up your data daily

What communication strategy should you have in place in case you ever find yourself in a hacked situation?

If you wake up one morning to discover that your Twitter or Facebook account has been hacked, here are 4 steps that you should take immediately in order to communicate quickly and swiftly with your audience:

  • Issue a statement immediately from your other social media accounts, and from the hacked account if possible. Within this statement:

- Apologize for the incident and any offense it may have caused to your fans and followers
- Let them know that you’re in the process of looking into the incident
- Give them links to other platforms that they can follow you on for news and updates

  • Contact the platform immediately for their help to shut the account down
  • Once looked into, release an official statement clarifying that you were hacked, how (if you know) and correct any wrongful comments, tweets, posts, that were published on your account by the hackers
  • Figure out what happened and do what you can to prevent it from happening again – and then educate your audience

Being hacked is a serious thing, but there are ways for you to go about protecting yourself and preparing your company to react and respond in this type of situation.

What other advice would you give to companies and organizations in order to secure their accounts from hackers? Share your advice with me below!