While it is impossible to guarantee that your Facebook account will not be hacked, you can take steps to decrease the likelihood of unscrupulous people gaining access to your account. Facebook is approaching 1 billion users and as such there is a lot of information available through Facebook. You may unknowingly post just enough information for someone to steal your identity, or someone may post on your behalf after gaining access to your account. This post may cause embarrassment, job loss, or even legal action.
Here are some tips to help prevent the stress that can be caused by unauthorized access to your account.
- Stating the obvious: You really shouldn’t share your password with any account with anyone. You may be on good terms today, but tomorrow you may not. Sad to say, you never know what people are capable of, especially if they feel screwed up.
- Do not reuse passwords: You should never use the same password for multiple sites. Repeatedly reusing a password increases the likelihood that someone else could steal your password. There are utilities available that will store and generate passwords for you if you are someone who has trouble with how many passwords to remember. One of those utilities is Keepass. With Keepass you can generate passwords for everything that requires one. You just have to set a password for Keepass. Everything else is stored in the Keepass database.
- Use complex passwords: If you are not using a password generator, use passwords that are a combination of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols. Don’t use words, birthdays, or common names. There are tools available that make cracking passwords made up of words or names from the dictionary a breeze.
- Turn on https: If you are using http (which is the default setting for Facebook), you are vulnerable to being hacked. Applications that are available for Android devices and computers can access your Facebook account in just a few minutes if they are on the same wireless network as you.
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is: If you notice numerous likes on an image, it is probably strange news of something that seems a bit over the top. Click hijacking is fast becoming a way to trick users into revealing personal information about themselves, including passwords and other private data. Think before you click.
- Activate login notification: Facebook has a similar feature to Gmail that sends you a notification every time someone (hopefully you) logs into your account. Once you have successfully logged in, you will receive a text message notifying you of the login. The text message includes instructions on what to do if you were not the one who logged in.
- Activate login approvals: You can also configure Facebook to require approval of a login. When someone (hopefully you) tries to log in, they are sent a text message with a verification code. The person trying to log in must enter the verification code to continue.
- Check to view active sessions: Check active sessions for suspicious-looking activity. If you take a look and notice that logins from countries other than the one where you live in your account have been compromised, you should change your password immediately. But be careful. If you use Facebook mobile, the activity may not show locally because your ISP does not provide the IP address.
- All of these settings (and a few others) can be managed by clicking the inverted triangle next to the house and then going to Account Settings> Security.
Until the next post … safe browsing!