Social media users in Bahrain have been urged to take every security precaution in the book amid increasing data breaches.

The importance of activating dual authentication on social media accounts was also highlighted as a common method of hacking – according to First Lieutenant Abdullah Al Jalahma, from the Interior Ministry’s Cyber Crime Unit – was through links sent online.

In an interview during the Interior Ministry’s weekly Al Amn (Security) radio show, First Lieutenant Al Jalahma said it was crucial for people to guard their privacy online by avoiding strange requests and taking security precautions to protect their personal information.

“Many people put their personal information on these social media platforms and websites such as birthdays, phone numbers and pictures of their cars (showing the licence plate number), making it easier for amateur hackers to guess their password using this information,” he said.

“Some people also receive calls from people claiming they have won prizes and that they need to click on a link in a text message which leads to them being hacked – all these are a threat.”

He said majority of complaints the unit received were about hacks through WhatsApp and Snapchat due to loopholes in the security and protection systems of the programmes.

“The two-step authentication is one of the most important and main steps users can take to ensure their accounts are protected,” he added.

“In the most common social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter this authentication is built in.”

The importance of ensuring children were aware of the dangers of sending pictures and personal information to strangers online was also emphasised during the weekly show.

Under Bahrain’s laws, hackers face up to one year in jail and up to BD30,000 fine which can reach up to BD50,000 if private information is leaked.

Bahrain has a hotline, 992, to report electronic related crimes, while the ministry’s main operations room received 2,706 calls this week, with 380 calls received in the last 24 hours.

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