How to protect your Hootsuite account from hackers

Two-step verification (2SV) brings your accounts an additional layer of security.

David bisson
David Bisson


We all know that online criminals target the social media accounts of users and businesses around the world to spread spam and malicious links, commit identity theft, or to ruin a business’s brand. As a result, social networking users need to do everything they can to protect their accounts.

That’s where two-step verification (2SV) can help.

In a recent article series, I’ve discussed how you can set up 2SV on various social media websites, including Twitter, Facebook (and by extension Instagram), Google (and by extension Google+), LinkedIn, and Tumblr.

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For the sake of convenience, you might have all of these profiles connected to a third-party app so that you can manage your social networking from one central location. But attackers can hack into those apps, as well, which means we should consider enabling additional layers of security on those accounts, if they are available.

Fortunately, if you’re using the third-party social media management app Hootsuite, you can enable 2SV.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Sign into your Hootsuite account using a web browser.

2. On your homepage, you will see a thin vertical sidebar on the left. Hover your cursor over the gear icon located about mid-page on the sidebar. This is the “Settings” feature.

A drop-down menu will appear to the right. Hover your cursor over to the top of that drop-down menu and click on “Account.”

Hootsuite 1

3. A dialog box for your “Account” settings will open up and display your username, picture, and any other personal information you might have provided to Hootsuite.

At the top of this dialog box, you will see several clickable tabs. The tab “Profile” will be highlighted. Navigate your cursor to the right and click on the “Security” tab.

Hootsuite 2

4. The site’s “Security” settings pertain to one feature and one feature only: 2-step verification.

Hootsuite will display a dialog box informing you that you will need to install the Google Authenticator app to set up 2SV. To initiate this process, click on the “Get Started” button.

Hootsuite 3

5. Using the steps provided by Hootsuite, install Google Authenticator on your mobile device, scan the QR code to connect the app to Hootsuite, and input the 6-digit verification code provided by the Google Authenticator app.

Hootsuite 4

6. And you’re done! If you entered in the mobile code correctly, Hootsuite will let you know that you successfully authenticated yourself using 2SV.

Now Hootsuite will automatically add a third text field for your Google Authenticator code whenever you attempt to sign into your account and after you’ve typed in your username:

Hootsuite 6

Enter in your password and Google Authenticator code, and you will automatically be redirected to your account homepage.

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David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley Security News and Associate Editor for Tripwire's "The State of Security" blog.

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