By: Jessie Archambault

Kelly MacMillan, 21, says she uses the same password for all of her online accounts. This increases the risk of being hacked.

Social media security is something young adults need to understand and practice to reduce the risks of being hacked, because they have the greatest online presence.

According to Susan Murphy, an interactive media design professor who recommends having different passwords for every online accounts as a first security measure. Passwords should also be changed often.

“I got myself locked down pretty tight,” she said.

The most common social networking mistake is not having a strong enough passwords, said Murphy.

Gail Goodene, a dental hygiene student changed her password to a higher secured one when her brother’s email account was hacked a few months ago. She realized the risks of a low security password and the consequences.

A high security password consists of at least eight to 10 characters blending upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols, Murphy said. Even though social media networks take security seriously, she said “it’s up to individuals.”

The major social networks offer security settings such as making a profile public or private and monitor who has access to what posts and photo. However, many people don’t know how to change them.

Kelly MacMillan, 21, has a public Facebook profile because she didn’t know having a private profile was an option.

“I can’t figure out how to use the settings,” said the public relations student.

Individuals are responsible for determining what is public and what is not, especially since anyone can take a screenshot or copy-and-paste the information onto their desktop, said Murphy.

“Everybody is at risk,” she said.

As for her password, MacMillan chose something she would remember that is related to her, she said.

“My password is basically the same for everything.”

The most important account to properly secure is the email account. If hackers get a hold of an email account, they can have access to everything else and change other accounts’ passwords, said Murphy.

Rhenne Decastro, 32,  was hacked a few months ago via his Hotmail account. A friend told him he received a questionable link from him.

“My email account and Facebook were compromised,” he said.

He changed his passwords immediately to a combination of letters and numbers to be more secure.

“I never thought I’d get hacked,” said Decastro, an architectural technology student.