Social media

How to avoid cloning of social media account’s

Cloning of social media accounts has turned into an epidemic, and most of the sufferers or the targets are those who either wear a celebrity hat or high on popularity graph because of their content, impressive fan following built through hard work or unique talent.

So, what exactly is cloning of social media account?

Social media cloning accounts are those accounts which masquerade a popular entity. The idea is to cheat netizens, at least at first glance, and then lure them into their trap. This may result in gullible people liking, sharing and following these fake accounts unknowingly.

Cloning is typically achieved via following methods –

  1. Building a social media account / page using the same layout / color scheme as that of the target. The audience instantly connects with the fake profile because it offers familiar settings and placements.
  2. Exploiting similar text and images. Most of the scammers simply use the same info graphics and pictures which once again resonate with the audience and instantly create trust.
  3. Both of the above. By exploiting the combination of layout and image property scammers create a lethal profile which can fool even the most diehard social media fanatic.

However, a small tweak can prevent cloning of these popular accounts to a large extent. Mentioned below are some of the popular ways of reducing the risk of being cloned.


– Make sure you don’t expose all your content to public. Either restrict sharing or make your profile private ( Share with friends, group or limited entities ).

– Hide your friends list. This will make scammers unsure of your popularity. For example, if you have say 4000 friends, you instantly become a perfect target for cloning because of your expansive social media presence which can be exploited by sending out invites / marketing targets to your friends. To hide your friends list, go to your profile and click on the “Friends” tab. Click the pencil icon on the right side and click “Edit Privacy”.

These tweaks will reduce the chance of your account getting cloned.


Instagram is yet another popular social media platform which attracts hordes of scammers. With Instagram it is really a matter of just one tweak – change your profile setting to private.

So, how does a private Instagram account help stop cloning? The answer is the element of suspense. Scammers won’t be able to see your media files ( images & videos ). Moreover, such imposters will not be able to see your activities. Private profile makes sure you allow only those people to follow you whom you trust. It also means only approved list of individuals will be able to see your interests and actions in terms of posts. On the flip side Google will not index these media properties. You can change “Privacy” parameter by going to settings and following these steps.

Settings > privacy > account privacy and toggle private account to active status.

Although two factor authentication’ is exploited to prevent profile hacking it makes sense to activate this feature if you are extremely popular on Instagram.


As mentioned above, one of the best ways to keep a social media account, even Twitter, is to keep the status “Private”. What does this mean? Twitter will then allow only your followers to see the kind of posts you like, share, comment or upload. Cloners generally avoid such accounts because they know these entities are tech savvy and therefore not worth pursuing / cloning. Yet another benefit of keeping the account / tweets private is that you will not receive any DM or direct messages. It kind of keeps spammers, hackers and those not following you at bay.

To make your tweets private, go to your privacy and safety settings, and in the tweet privacy section, check the box next to protect my tweets.


LinkedIn is one of the finest business and career networking website, but unfortunately it is also one of the breeding grounds for spammers, hackers, cloners and a variety of online shenanigans. If that is not enough LinkedIn offers limited security parameters. However, it does provide a unique algorithm of connecting with other users.

This is termed as “Degree” or “Depth”. For example by accepting connection requests from 1st and 2nd degree connections you reduce the chance of being hacked or cloned. However, accepting deeper connection request can expose your account to various manipulations. There is another smart feature which offers a unique span to address cloning issue, and that is “Report a profile”. You can access this feature by –

– Clicking the “more” icon on the member’s profile.

– Click report/block.

– Select report this profile.

– Select the applicable reason for flagging the profile and click to submit.

Summary –

Many social media users confuse account hacks with clone which is not the case. These issues are poles apart. While hacked account simply means it has been compromised and the real user has no control on it, cloned accounts are re-created and copied accounts with the sole aim to cheat gullible netizens. Either way, most of these websites offer a plethora of settings to safeguard the account. As a responsible user you need to explore, tweak and monitor your account regularly to keep virtual cheats at a safe distance.

Cloud Computing

Advantages of committing to cloud computing solutions for your organisation

Some of the data numbers, vis-à-vis “Cloud” service are astounding to say the least. Studies by International Data Group suggest that more than half of the business community use cloud computing in one form or the other. Although, this number may appear impressive it still doesn’t reflect the true potential of this technology. Another study by Dell suggests that organisations with big data / cloud connection have seen fantastic revenue growth – 50% more than their niche counterparts.

In spite of boasting state of the art features there are many business entities who have refrained from adopting this platform. And one of the reasons I believe is the delivery mechanism. Cloud computing provides hardware and software infrastructure services via complex network of servers, typically using internet as the distribution vehicle which overwhelms many organisations.

However, the scenario is changing fast. The 25% to 30% year on year growth is the proof that companies are unshackling from their unwanted fears, and ready to imbibe a system which offers hardware, software, document processing and remote services under one roof.

Some of the advantages of cloud commuting include –

Flexibility –

As a cloud subscriber you “pay only for what you use”. In simple terms, you can scale your usage depending on your business needs. Some businesses are seasonal in nature and therefore it helps them fine tune their service usage and thereby cut IT costs. Here is another scenario. Is your business growing rapidly? Maybe you are on a hiring spree? No problem. Just increase your bandwidth and you are ready to go.

Cost Savings –

As mentioned above, the beauty of cloud technology is the way users are billed. I will reiterate my earlier sentence — pay only for what you use is the mantra here. As a subscriber you can tweak an array of parameters such as:  hardware configuration, software, bandwidth, security and backup services etc.

Security & Insights –

Unlike in house IT infrastructure wherein the admin or the contractor is responsible for the security of your computing environment, the cloud system is free from these extra but expensive dependencies. Moreover, remote computing offers state of the art security in terms of virus, fire and earthquake and data theft attacks. The security system is automated and boasts an array of critical checkpoints that monitor client environment every second. As a user you can access insights related to security and usage of services.

Mobility & Scalability –

I personally believe these twin advantages are enough for any smart organisation to migrate to remote services. Do you own a rented office or administrative space? Yes! Then cloud will reduce your IT woes exponentially. There is no need to carry costly hardware and internet infrastructure equipment every time your lease expires. Simply hookup your laptop from any remote place and reduce productivity dilemmas. Moreover, and as mentioned above, if your new setup demands increased services and bandwidth just tweak the options / parameters in the control panel window of the service provider and you are good to go.

Loss Prevention and Data Recovery –

Unlike traditional IT setup where the admin performs backup tasks using manual tools and obsolete methods, cloud does the same using state of the art technologies. This ensures minimum loss of data. Even serious breach of security and external attacks are quickly resolved via multi-layered security protocols and robust firewalls. Loss prevention simply means reduced financial burden and increased profits for your organisation.

Automatic Software Update –

Maintaining licenses and keys for various Operating Systems, Software, Anti-Virus Program and a host of productivity applications is a crucial task. Any lapse could result in a major setback. Moreover, software companies frequently release patches to improve their products. Any delay in applying the same may turn your IT setup vulnerable to external threats. However, with Cloud you can rest assured they are updated by the provider and what you get is a completely safe and secure environment.

Collaboration … Unparalleled Flexibility –

Document loss, renaming files accidentally and duplication are some of the woes of traditional IT environment, especially when working as a team. Moreover, real time remote alliance is simply not possible until and unless the computer system has been tweaked for this functionality. Cloud infrastructure on the other hand offers this feature as a basic feature and therefore these tasks are a joy to perform.

Summation –

Committing to cloud computing solutions can put your organisation on a track of fast growth and that too with reduced IT spending. It is a logical way to achieve impressive bottom-line. Moreover, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offers a host of benefits which increase productivity, reduces redundancy and neutralises processing bottlenecks. So, when are you migrating to Cloud?

Cyber Security

My View on how passwords are cracked and how to improve system security

Digitisation of businesses has slowly but surely pushed most of the work flow processes towards automation, especially computers. In fact, even as I write there are organizations who are contemplating to migrate to cloud and other platforms. The reason is because of enhanced security – both internal and external. One of the nightmares which any network administrator dreads to think about is user account compromise, typically when a password is hacked and then exploited for data thievery. User login and authentication theft is one of the largest if not the only network security issues that plaques the IT milieu.

Worldwide, users create login details, especially passwords which are not too difficult and also easy to remember. In spite of repetitive warnings and awareness programs conducted by IT administrator, most of the employees tend to incorporate their personal details such as date of birth, pin code or vehicle numbers while generating password for accessing sensitive resources such as database, email and web ( intranet and internet ).

Does this seem like a recipe for disaster? Yes, of course. Industries such as finance and banking, stock trading, telecommunications and large organizations are password dependent for several day to day activities, and any weaknesses here could lead to catastrophe.

So, how are passwords cracked and how does one improve the IT security system? Mentioned below are some of the ways a password can be cracked and its remedies.

1.Brute force

As the name suggests, brute force literally means logging into an account with the sole aim of harming / exploiting resources once access is achieved. This entity uses a combination of numbers and characters to get through. Although this method may not result in high success rate due to built-in safety systems such as Captcha and a cap on unsuccessful logins attempts, it still possess a huge threat as some of the shenanigans use software / tools for narrowing down the user details.

Remedy –

The only remedy against brute force is to set up complex user login parameters. Administrator should make sure that employees actually follow this practice religiously.

2. URL Interception

Password sent across an URL ( through forms ) can be technically intercepted with simple knowledge of scripting language/s and internet protocols. Due to its inherent client / server design, web applications boast a host of vulnerable elements such as search textbox, forms, user login page and of course filters ( generally used in Ecommerce web portals ). These are prone to attacks. How? For example, SQL injection is a popular way of manipulating database and login algorithms via hand coded SQL queries. A successful injection could lead to data sabotage or misuse. Order processing forms are yet another resource which many hackers exploit disdainfully.

Remedy –

Developers must follow semantic coding practices. For example, limiting the use of HTML tags and scripting syntax in forms / textboxes can reduce SQL injection whereas submission of forms can be made safe using secure transfer protocols.

3. Guesswork

Many wannabe password seekers use this method to access private and confidential data. Guesswork simply means that this entity or a group of tech savvy individuals’ first dig out some of the vital information about the company, its system administrator and also the hosting details. These entities then manipulate several combinations, mostly names and numbers belonging to the concerned organisation. Guesswork tools when offered a range of “Possible” options can narrow down the password. Some of the tools also offer a pattern across the entire network.

Remedy –

Administrators should avoid personal names, data of births and those belonging to the owners.

4. Key logging

Key logging is available as a tool and the same can also be pushed into the network via Trojan. Once activated it sniffs, captures and then builds the list of keystrokes. Password crackers and data thieves then access the resultant text file and exploit it for various malicious activities.

Remedy – 

Running a robust antivirus and activity tracker tool can warn administrators of their presence which for all purposes operate in deceptive mode. Key logging infections were rampant earlier, however today its charm is lost due to user awareness and the complexity of web / desktop applications.

Conclusion –

Phishing, peeping over shoulder or eavesdropping are some of the other ways passwords and/or login details are compromised. I firmly believe that conducting regular awareness programs within the organization, installing latest monitoring tools and using multi-factor authentication methods can improve network security environment to a large extent. I also believe that passwords are here to stay for a long time in spite of biometric, facial and fingerprinting security systems.