Facebook is one of the most widely used platforms in the world. Because of this, it’s a potential hacker’s paradise. Understanding how to protect your security can make the difference between being compromised along with all of your information or giving tips to others on keeping their account safe.
Why is Facebook security so important?
Facebook has about 3B users. This is an outlet where people share personal information, interact with colleagues and other professionals, and network with family and friends. With so much information being shared, identities can be compromised very quickly. It’s not uncommon for someone to send a note to their followers that there is another profile out there that looks just like theirs.
What can a user do?
1. One of the best things to do is learn how to delete Facebook search history.
It’s no secret everything is being data mined. Facebook enhanced this with the Facebook Graph Search Tool. Unless someone has removed a lot of their personal information, or make all the likes private, the open-source intelligence (OSINT) available is massive.
How can you do this?
- Log in and click on the name or profile picture. That should take the user to their timeline page.
- The cover photo should have two buttons beside it. The closest one should be the Activity log. Click that.
- Check the Include Only Me Activity checkbox if you see it. There is a More link under photos, likes and comments. Once you see the list, choose search.
- Click Clear Searches. Facebook will ask if you really want to clear all searches. Complete the action.
Although this was done for that time, it is always a good rule of thumb to do this on a fairly consistent basis to ensure privacy.
Easy passwords can be hacked, and although it’s been said to stop using the same password for multiple accounts, most people feel it’s a lot easier to do that. Don’t! It’s important to use a strong password that has a combination of characters, numbers and letters. Every account being used should have their own password. One thing to remember – if the Facebook account is compromised, that leaves the hacker with access to the email associated with that account.
If that is a main email address, what is the likelihood that the hacker will try and use that email address and password on other accounts? Another safety protocol that works hand in hand with this is to add a mobile number. If the account is hacked, the user will be able to verify and recover their account. Changing the password every 30 days is also a good idea to stay ahead of the curve. By doing this on a consistent basis, the likelihood of someone compromising the account is lessened.
3. Two-factor Authentication
Facebook has made it possible to utilize a two-factor authentication to ensure an additional layer of security. Users can set this up in the security and login section of the account. Once this is activated, the user account will also require a code (usually sent to the phone) to log in.
Securing posts by restricting who sees them is key. If the user is concerned about their privacy and taking all the precautions necessary to monitor who is able to see their account, this will work. Users can also restrict individuals from seeing posts where they are tagged. Someone may also want to block someone from seeing their friend list. This can be done by editing the privacy within the friends option. In order to avoid anyone’s comments or posts on the user’s timeline, it’s best to create a setting where everything is reviewed prior to being posted on the page.
5. Mobile devices
Many people use Facebook on every mobile device they have. It’s very convenient, because all you have to do is log on and you won’t have to log in anymore. If a phone is lost without a password on it, that’s asking for trouble. Having a password to get into the mobile device, and then a password to log into Facebook makes the most sense. It’s amazing how many people do not protect their devices.
There are a number of people using Facebook, and they aren’t on a secure connection. This quickly compromises data, somewhat like using free Wi-Fi. In these cases, having a VPN would be the better alternative than taking that chance.
7. Friend lists
Facebook allows individuals to add friends of their friends, but if the user doesn’t know them, it’s best NOT to add them. More often than not, people receive random friend requests. If there is not direct affiliation to that request, it’s better to ignore and delete. Having friends on the list someone doesn’t know personally lets people into a personal world that should be restricted to people the user knows and trusts.
Users can customize the experience for each person on their friend list, restricting certain information and pictures from certain people. Utilizing the privacy settings to change who can see certain things, including your date of birth and location helps information the user wants private to stay that way. This can be done by clicking Privacy Settings. One of the great things about these privacy settings is that a user can also determine who can find them through Facebook search.
9. Log Out
Logging out after using Facebook is one of the most overlooked safety protocols a user could do. This is extremely effective in keeping unknown persons from compromising the account. This could also be very dangerous if the wrong person got into the account. It is very important to log out, especially if using a device that others will be using. There is an option that says “Keep Me Logged In,” but this box should remain unchecked at all times. Do the extra work to gain access and keep the account secure.
Facebook is home to a lot of apps to keep users entertained. What they don’t say is that these “apps” extract personal information, using it to gather data on the person to target them in some other way – from Facebook ads to receiving unwanted emails. It’s very important to check the app and see what they will be able to access and keep before adding it to their account.
Facebook is a very powerful platform for those who are using it to socialize, connect with family and friends, or in a professional capacity. As with any tech-based platform, it is vulnerable to hackers and those who are looking for information to do harm. Facebook has had its own set of challenges, from selling information to being accused of worse. Although a platform that does a lot of good through connecting, taking the steps needed to ensure personal privacy is needed now more than ever.
These tips will help wade through all the choices, breaking down the most important to quickly ensure privacy at a higher level. The more someone knows how to protect themselves, the better they are. Using these tactics and a VPN will help provide anonymity and security year round.