If you’re like most people, you probably don’t really give Facebook hackers much thought as you peruse friends’ photos, post updates, and scroll through your Newsfeed. But, the truth is, social media hacking is a lot more common than you might think! And, if you’re not taking some basic precautions, you might be putting yourself at risk, too.
In 2011, 1 in 10 social network users reported that their accounts had been hacked, and in 2012 the frequency increased to 1 in 6. (Source: Norton Cybercrime Report 2011, 2012.)
In order to protect yourself, your accounts, and your personal, private information, here are 7 simple techniques that you can use to ensure that your Facebook account does not fall prey to hackers.
1. Never share your login or password information.
This may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how many people freely share their logins and passwords with friends and family members. Though your family and friends likely have your best interest at heart, they may unknowingly post, share or communicate information about your account that could put you at greater risk.
2. Create passwords that are LONG and STRONG.
If you use the same easy-t0-remember password for all your accounts, this is a big no-no. It’s recommended that you change your password every few months and create passwords that are both LONG and STRONG. A great way to do this is to use an acronym of your favorite song title or lyrics. For example, if you’re a Billy Joel fan, you could transform some lyrics from his 1976 hit, “New York State of Mind”, into a great password such as ImInaNYSofM1976 — no one’s going to guess that!
3. Don’t click Newsfeed links.
Never click on suspicious looking links to games, apps and other ads that you’re unsure of that may pop-up in your Facebook Newsfeed, and avoid allowing 3rd party applications to access your information when you sign-up for something.
4. Add a second email.
In the “General Settings” section of your Facebook account, had a secondary email in case your account is ever hacked. In the event that your account is compromised, Facebook will send recovery info to both email accounts so you have a better chance of recovering your information quickly and restoring your account security.
5. Only “friend” friends.
Only accept and extend friendship to individual that you actually know. When you accept a stranger’s friend request, you give them access to your personal information, so it’s always best to never post any sensitive, personal or financial details about yourself.
6. Follow Facebook’s advice.
Facebook offers step-by-step instructions that you can follow that outline “How to Prevent Your Facebook Account from being Hacked”. They suggest enabling login notification, checking your active sessions, and enabling secure browsing. Learn how to do all 3 here.
7. Beef up your online security.
Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a fantastic way to beef up your online security in general and will sure-up not only your social media accounts but all your online activity including emailing, browsing and accessing sensitive sites like banking or credit cards.
A VPN is kind of like a secure tunnel that contains all your data and info, and the tunnel is comprised of an encryption ring that hackers cannot decipher, meaning everything that flows through the tunnel, including your social media activity, is safe.
VPN’s are also extremely valuable if you routinely access your social accounts from low-security networks like coffee shops, airports, hotels, restaurants, or any other public WiFi hotspot.
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