Whether you are a fan of Facebook or not, you surely recognize that it is immensely popular worldwide. While most of us use the social network for its intended purposes, many people out there are using it for malicious reasons. How can you protect your Facebook account and keep hackers away?
First, take all possible technical steps, as outlined below, to keep hackers out.
Choose a password that is hard to guess yet easy to remember. There are many ways to do this, but one easy one is the phrase method. To use this method choose a phrase that includes numbers. Change the first letter of each word to upper case. Switch commonly used characters to symbols, add numbers, spaces (yes, a blank space is considered a character in passwords) and punctuation at the end. For example, “G3t To Th3 St@dium By 1 O’clock!”
Alternatively, for a shorter version use the first letter of each word with the proper case. Use numbers whenever possible, and add the end punctuation. Using this method, the phrase, “Get to the stadium by 1 o’clock!” would become “Gttsb1o!”.
If this is still sounds too complicated, you might want to switch to using a password manager to manage and generate a strong password.
Since your email is your Facebook username, you should hide it and keep it protected. To do this, open your About page. Click “Contact and basic info” in the column on the left. Hover your mouse over the Email field and click the “Edit” button when it appears. Click the down arrow and change access to “only me,” and save the changes.
Another way hackers can access your account is through apps. These apps are those you permitted to log in through your Facebook account. So clear your account of any apps you don’t use, especially if you don’t recognize the app!
To do this, click on the triangle icon at the end of the top bar on Facebook. Select “Settings” and locate “Apps and Websites” in the column on the left. Click on it to see all the apps with access. Check the boxes of those you want to delete, and click the blue button at the top.
Unrecognized Login Alerts
If you want to make sure no one is logging into your account, enable “Get alerts about unrecognized logins.” With this, you can choose if you want to receive these notifications via Facebook notifications, email, Messenger, or your phone. Whenever you log in from a different place, you will receive one of these messages. Some extra notifications far outweigh having no idea that someone else is in your account.
Two-factor identification makes it impossible for hackers to get through. After you enter your username and password, it sends a security code to your phone that you must enter to gain access. No one will be able to log into your account without physical access of your phone.
If you are using a web browser on a computer, enable two-factor identification by going into Settings like you did to check your apps. Click on the “Security and login” option near the top of the column on the left. Click “Edit” next to the “Use Two-factor Authorization” option, and follow the directions.
On a mobile device, enable it by tapping the menu icon (three horizontal lines or vertical dots). Scroll down to Settings, then “Privacy -> Account Settings > Security and login.” Scroll and tap “Use Two-factor Authentication,” and follow the directions given.
Encrypt Notification Emails
Another way to make sure that all the emails coming from Facebook are genuine is to enable a public key to encrypt the messages. To do this, go to “Settings -> Security and login.” Scroll down and click on “Encrypted notification emails.” Add your OpenPGP Public Key, and allow Facebook to send encrypted messages. You will receive an email to verify that you can read these messages before they will begin using encrypted messages for all of your emails.
Check Email History
Another way to make sure an email that says it comes from Facebook really does is to use the “See recent emails from Facebook” option at the bottom of the security options list. When you click on the view next to this option, you will see a list of recent emails about security and login and a tab to see other emails they have sent. If you’ve received one from Facebook, and it is not on the list, you know it was a scam.
Person to Person Tricks Hackers Use on Facebook
Even if you completely lock everything down using all of the methods above, hackers will still try to find a way into your account. If they can’t breach your security, they will try to trick you into giving them the access. The following are some ways these rats may try to infiltrate.
Don’t respond to any post in your newsfeed or on your wall asking you to verify your credentials or your password. Facebook won’t ask you to do that, especially not publicly.
Apps and games
While there are plenty of legitimate and useful apps being used on Facebook every day, there are many that are just fronts for scams. If a friend asks you to try an app, message them verify they sent the request before you install it.
Be wary of emails that look like they come from Facebook. Don’t click any links in that email. Instead, log into your account and check your messages to see if the link was real.
Beware of links appearing on your timeline or newsfeed. Even if someone you know sent the link, remember that they could have been hacked. If your friend is sending out uncharacteristic links, let them know someone may have hacked them and that they need to change their password. Also, keep an eye on your timeline for any posts that may not have been from you or a friend.
Lastly, be very cautious when accepting friend requests from people you don’t know in real life. There are good reasons for allowing these requests because of shared interests or mutual friends, but before you do, check out their account. See how old it is. If it’s only a few weeks old, it’s probably a scam.
Look at the photos on their timeline to see if they look authentic or if they’ve been downloaded from somewhere else. If their links are spammy and not what you see from most people, it’s probably best to decline the invitation.
If you enjoy using Facebook, enjoy it safely by keeping these safety tips in mind.