Protecting your social media accounts ahead of the election

KANSAS CITY - With the election five days away, now is the time hackers are hoping to catch you off guard and gain access to your social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.

Getting hacked is a part of life most people in Kansas City have come to accept.

"It's shady obviously to have things like that happen, but it's kind of the world we live in," said Jordan West.

"Just because so many things get hacked,” said Beth Partin.

Retired FBI agent Jeff Lanza said hackers could shut down social media sites Tuesday. 

It can happen. Just two weeks ago hackers took over the Internet traffic company Dyn, which shut down Twitter and even Netflix. It prompted Homeland Security to look into what happened.

Lanza said there are bigger concerns come Election Day. He said people can download malware by being tricked into clicking on false links and embedding them into social media sites. That’s why Lanza said it’s important to be careful where you click.

"You might see some clickbait that says you know Trump in the lead in California,” said Lanza. "Someone may click on that, and it takes you to a bogus site and there will be other places on there where maybe people can infect their computers."

These links might ask you for your personal information, but don't fall for it.

Lanza said now is a good time to make sure your passwords on your social media sites are strong. Also, don’t log into your accounts from unfamiliar websites. It will help keep your own voice online.

"You want to have a little bit of autonomy. You want to feel like you're a free thinker in this election and that you are not being pigeon holed," said Kansas resident Rebecca Pasnoori.

The Kansas City FBI said it will investigate any election crimes -- including crimes that pertain to social media.

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Ali Hoxie can be reached at ali.hoxie@kshb.com

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