Risks of Linking Accounts
Generally, when downloading a new app, you’re prompted to create an account. During that time, it may ask you to link your accounts by signing in via another platform. This saves you from having to create and remember yet another password. Though linking your accounts seems convenient, there are many risks.
With the concept of privacy dwindling, users don’t bat an eye at sharing personal information. A common option you may see when creating an account is to log in with Facebook or Google instead. This, of course, is convenient as you’re already familiar with the login credentials for your main account and you won’t have to go through the hassle or creating a new one. Memorizing dozens of passwords isn’t fun, but it’s much safer.
What are the risks?
Using another website’s credentials to login allows that site to request for data about you. Bigger platforms such as Facebook have a lot of data available. Such as your friends, place of employment, birthday, email address, phone number, and photos. This is something to consider if you ever wonder why you’re receiving calls from a random number or receiving emails about things you didn’t sign up for. While sharing information online about yourself promotes social growth, maintains relationships, and is good for networking, it makes you vulnerable and creates threats.
Linking accounts also means that if one account is compromised, all accounts are likely compromised. If you aren’t aware, syncing your account means that if information is shared on one platform, it will be shared among others. This increases the risk of sensitive data being comprised. This also creates the threat of phishing. Which can open the door to an abundance of problems, especially if you have no protection. There’s also the risk of identity theft. Cyber criminals can easily collect the information you’ve freely provided across platforms and steal your identity.
How does this happen?
Once you sign in, you’re likely to find a window asking for permission. Permission for what? Permission to collect and share your data. Linking more than one account allows companies to collect even more data about you. Believe it or not, your data is very valuable. Due to privacy concerns, some platforms allow you to view a general idea of the data they’ve collected. Though it won’t be specific. For example, Facebook collects personal information about you as it’s a more “personal” platform. While Google tracks your online habits. The more platforms are connected, the more information they gather to create the perfect portfolio about you for their profit.
What should you do?
Keep your social networks separate
Create a separate account per platform
Limit the information you share online
Avoid sharing personal things about yourself (birthday, place of employment, phone number etc.)
*This is another reason not to include your date of birth in your password.
Create complex passwords for each account
Passwords should be a minimum of 12 characters, have a lower case and upper-case character, a number, and a special character.
* Try including the numbers or special characters in the middle of the password, as it is expected to be at the end.