by David Glick
Everyone knows that hackers are out there lurking on the Internet just waiting to find that helpless victim to ATTACK and steal all or part of their identity by hacking into their computer (think mal-ware), guessing their account passwords, and more.
This article will discuss Facebook accounts and how to keep your account (and your identity) safe from would-be thieves and hackers. Why would you want to keep your Facebook account secure? Because we put SO much of our personal information in them! Any and all personal information that is available to the bad guys is more ammunition they can use against us if they choose to steal our identity. This means they could have access to your bank accounts, retirement and stock accounts, and any other sites that you use to log into online such as eBay, PayPal, utility companies, and more.
So what are the best ways to keep your Facebook account secure? Here are the top 5:
1) Secure your personal sharing settings – make every setting ‘Friends Only’ – this means that only your friends can see your personal information, your posts, your pictures, and anything else you share online on Facebook.
DID YOU KNOW: You can see your Facebook profile as others see you? Click on your name at the top right of the screen (next to HOME) so you see your Timeline View – then click the drop-down arrow next to Activity Log (The Settings Gear will show too) and click ‘View As…’ Then you will see what you look like to the Public – you can also click the ‘View as Specific Person’ toward the top to see your profile as someone specific.
2) Use a STRONG password for your Facebook account (and ALL accounts!). Easy passwords are also easy for the bad guy’s software programs to guess. Use a password that is at least 8 characters, does not use dictionary words, and combines upper case and lower case letters, numbers, and at least one special character. See my blog post on using STRONG PASSWORDS for more information!
3) Use updated antivirus software on your computer, scan your computer once a week, and verify that it is running by checking the icon in the notification area near the clock at least once a day. If the icon is missing, something could be wrong – don’t ignore it. Investigate it. Use a program like malwarebytes (at malwarebytes.org) to scan your computer for rogue software if you notice your icon is missing and get professional help if necessary – rogue malware keyloggers can actually send your account passwords to the bad guys!
4) Use Facebook’s “Login Approvals” setting to notify you (for approval) when someone tries to login to your Facebook account. It is a bit of a pain because you have to approve your own logins too (just once unless you clear your cookies or use a different browser or computer) but it is MUCH more secure. To get to the settings click HERE and click ‘Edit’ across from ‘Login Approvals.’ NOTE: You will need to set up your Mobile Number in Facebook to use this setting.
5) Avoid putting too much personal information on your Facebook page – remember what security questions you have answered on other websites and avoid putting this information on your Facebook page. For example, I never put my place of birth on my Facebook page because that is one of my security questions. Note: My hometown and place of birth are two different places 🙂
If you follow these 5 tips you will go a long way in securing your Facebook account and helping to avoid your identity being stolen by ruthless bad guys. This is not something you want to put off – if you think these are good ideas, do them now, while you are thinking about it!