A few years ago, to my dismay, I found that my Facebook account had been hacked. I always thought such things only happen to old grannies and not to an experienced internet user like me.
I was in a cybercafé in New Jersey and posting some pictures. It probably happened then, but I found out only some time later. I tried to log in to my account, but the app sent me a message that my account had been accessed from California (and I was nowhere near California). I was in full panic mode when I found that someone had been posting Facebook statuses on my behalf.
Your Facebook account is a treasure trove of valuable information that hackers and thieves are yearning to mine. You would, surely, want to do everything in your power to protect such an important chunk of your personal information from such unsavory characters.
If you log in to your account using your mobile device or laptop or from your office system, it is quite possible that you don’t log out of your account each time. If hackers access your account, it could very well open up a can of worms.
Well, the good news is that there are plenty of tips and tools for keeping your Facebook account safe. Facebook has its own dedicated page with the details, but you can access the panel for staying in control of your account by following security steps right at the top of your Facebook newsfeed.
Just click on it and you will be given hints on:
- Spotting spam.
- Picking unique passwords.
- Confirming mobile phone number
Here are ten different steps you need to follow to make sure your Facebook account is hack-proof and safe.
Step 1. Strong Password
That’s the basic step for security. It’s easy advice, but how exactly do you create a strong password? And, more importantly, how do you remember it? Here are some tips:
- Make it contain a minimum of 12 characters. This will make your password more difficult to hack.
- Use a password manager like LastPass to remember it.
- Use numbers, symbols and both capital and lower case letters. It’s harder to crack.
- Use a password generator, but make sure it’s something memorable. For instance, 3o(t&gSp&4hz8^#9 isn’t easily memorized, so make sure you have a back up record of your password if you choose something so intricate.
- Change your password every two to three months.
- Don’t use the same password for different sites. If someone is successful in hacking one account, they can also access other common accounts like Twitter or Gmail.
Step 2. Confirm Your Mobile Number for Security
This Facebook feature is a great relief, as it strengthens security. If you forget your password, Facebook can send an authorization code to your mobile number, so it’s easy to reset your password. Also, if Facebook gets hacked, god forbid, the site can wipe your password and send you a new one through SMS.
Step 3. Use a Secure Browser for Privacy
Control the external apps that are integrated with your Facebook account. This way, the apps will have to be approved for any kind of activity through your profile.
- Go to Settings.
- Click on Security.
- Click on Recognized Devices.
- Check the devices.
- Confirm identity and remove unwanted devices that are logged in.
- Make sure to save the changes.
Step 4. Use Login Approval
Two Factor Authentication is crucial to keeping your account safe on any social media platform. Facebook has introduced a second level of authentication, in addition to your password. You can set it up, but you have to confirm the login every time you access the platform. You will also receive alerts if someone logs in to your account from an unrecognized device.
- Go to Security.
- Access Login Settings.
- Move to Use Two Factor Authentication.
- Click on Edit.
- Click on the authentication option you want (SMS codes; security codes; using a printed recovery code).
- Click on Enable.
Step 5. Delete Earlier Active Sessions
Facebook always shows earlier sessions. Here’s how you can change that.
- Go to Account Settings.
- Access Security.
- Click on Where You are Logged, then Active Sessions.
- Edit all your earlier activities and end the activity that you don’t want.
Step 6. Disable “Keep Me Logged In”
You will find a checkbox stating this. Uncheck it and then log in. However, you will have to provide your email ID and your Facebook password every time you log in again.
Step 7. Check out all Security Options
Go to Settings, and then click on Security.
- Opt for Login Notifications and check the boxes. If you login from another computer, you’ll get a message. It’s fine if it’s you; otherwise, you know that someone else has accessed your account. It also shows the time of the login.
- Go to Login Approvals and edit the section.
- Check to require security codes for accessing accounts from other browsers. Facebook sends you notifications when someone logs in from another browser.
- Click on Trusted Contacts in Security settings.
- These contacts can then help you to access the site, in case your account is hacked or if you forget your password. Add a minimum of three trusted contacts.
- Go to “Who can see my Stuff” and check on Friends only as opposed to Friends of Friends, which is less secure.
- Go to Timeline & Tagging and allow only Friends (as opposed to Friends of Friends).
Step 8. Beware of Spam Links
Don’t become a victim to scam campaigns circling around Facebook. These are sent in the form of spam links, and can include messages sent through Facebook Chat, phishing links that will send you to a fake site, a malicious link that can access your personal information, and so on.
- Don’t click on a suspicious link appearing in Facebook Chat or Messages or in a post, even if your friend has sent it.
- Don’t reveal your Facebook username and password or any other personal information.
- Log in only to the official www.facebook.com website or use the app.
- Keep your browser updated, so that you get alerts about phishing sites.
Step 9. Don’t Use Public Networks and Make Sure You Sign Out
This step is really basic. Never log in to your account when you are in a public place on a public network, such as in hotel lobbies, in an airport lounge or in a cybercafé. This one is worth repeating a thousand times. Never forget to log out of your account.
Step 10. Don’t allow third-party applications to access personal information.
Don’t give third-party apps permissions, as they can post anything on your behalf. Use only reputed third-party apps for better privacy protection.
Some of these precautions could prove tedious, but they are definitely worth your time. After you address these security options, you can surf through the site without worries.
You might think that it is impossible to hack your account, but the recent phishing attacks on LinkedIn shows that there are many malicious attackers out there waiting to get hold of sensitive personal information. Don’t make the job any easier for them.