It happens pretty often. You’ll get on Facebook, and you’ll see that one of your friends has put a status update up that says something like the following: “I’m sorry for anyone that got any mass messages from me in the last day or two, my account was hacked.”
Sound familiar? If you have one of those friends, or you were one of those friends, you might be wondering how it is you can keep your account safe. Depending on what kind of personal information you put up there, it might be really smart to look into this.
When you get on the site, go straight to account preferences (on the top right) and click on “account settings.” Once you’re there, click on the “security” button on the far-left-hand-side of the screen. You will see a menu with five different prompts, choose from those five how you want to secure your account. Make sure that you enable secure browsing; that is a must. The rest are up to you.
Next, you must internalize the following: Don’t trust everything your friends post or send! Facebook spam usually comes in the form of web code. For example, a few months ago there were a lot of posts that said “see who is stalking you on Facebook.” So, you’d go in and copy some code and stick it in your web browser. That was a “clickjacking” hack. From that point, hackers had access to your Facebook and could spam your friends and do whatever they wanted with your account. So, don’t copy and paste any code! Unless you are a developer and can read that stuff, don’t mess with it!
Beware of the following: quizzes or apps that ask for your telephone number, urgent messages from the Facebook team telling you to update your account (they aren’t really from the team), urgent messages from friends asking you to wire them money via Western Union, any warnings that claim “Facebook will shutdown your account unless you do this…” and any message that has system updates for your computer (like an Adobe update).
Really, it’s just about being smart. If ever you get a message from a friend that you haven’t heard from in a while (or any friend for that matter) and there is a link in it, don’t just mindlessly click on it! Check up with that friend and ask if that is a legitimate message, look at the text in the message to see if it sounds like how that person would talk (the one thing that we have that hackers don’t is an ability to communicate like normal people. You can spot hacker speak if you’re looking for it). Next, look at the web address of the link you were sent. If the link is super short, or super long, take a close look at it to see what the link says.
Information sharing is going to continue to get more advanced. As that happens, hackers’ ability to mess with you will also evolve. Therefore, it is imperative that you take every precaution, when it comes to your personal information. If someone can get at your Facebook, imagine what they could try and do to your bank account.
About the Author
Andrew Snow is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which courses are available through accredited online colleges to help them reach their goals.
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