As usual, the idea for this post came to me through my efforts to provide volunteer support to the AVG Online Community. While researching an example to prove to another community member that AVG’s LinkScanner is superior to a competing product, I encountered an AVG user in the comments section of the AVG Threat Labs report page for Facebook. He stated that his Facebook account was being continuously hacked, and wanted to know what AVG could do to help him with this. While there isn’t really an outright technological solution to this problem, I decided to write this post to address this issue. This blog post is also featured on AVG’s Social Media Blog!
So I present to you five tips that will keep hackers out of your Facebook account.
1. Be sure to use strong and diverse passwords. Don’t use a simple and easy to crack or guess password, and don’t use the same password across multiple online accounts. If one account is compromised by a hacker then that same password can be used to compromise all of your other accounts.
2. Be aware of your security questions. Security Questions are backdoors built into most online accounts to help you gain access to your account if you should ever forget your password, so that you’re not just forever locked out of your account. Consider that with all the information we share on social networking platforms like Facebook, security questions with answers that can be readily found on your Facebook profile, such as “Where did you go to high school?, What was your first pet’s name?, or “What is your mother’s maiden name?” are not going to cut it! Also consider that many times the people who compromise your online accounts or steal your identity are people you are close to or know personally, so even more personal questions may not work in all cases. My recommendation is to make a contrived answer to the question that you can remember. This way even people who would know the correct answer to your security questions could not use them to gain access to your accounts.
3. Beware of phishing sites. Always be sure that you’re at https://www.facebook.com/ when you log in. That way you are sure that you’re not at a duplicate site that copies the look of Facebook and has a *similar* URL, but is actually a clone that will store your login information in a database for hackers. If you were to ever realize you submitted your information at one of these fake login pages, immediately change your password and the hacker will be unable to access your account when they later try the e-mail and password combination you accidentally provided to them. The above login address also has the benefit of being an encrypted login page! This is great if you’re on a public network, as it prevents other people on that same network from being able to intercept the IP packets containing your login information!
4. Always remember to log out if you access Facebook on a public computer. If you leave yourself logged in then anyone who finds your account left up on the computer in their house, the local public library, etc is a potential hacker! They can go through your personal mails, post status updates as you, contact your friends impersonating you, etc. Worst of all they wouldn ‘t have to do anything to gain access other than navigate to Facebook. So be sure to log out of Facebook on any computer that someone else may potentially use when you’re done with it!
5. Setup your account to experience Facebook through a completely encrypted connection whenever possible. This is again great if you’re on a public network or computer and want to be sure no one else on that network or who later uses that computer can get at your information or “sniff” your IP packets. Here are some great step by step instructions I found to setting this feature up on your Facebook account!
By following these five simple tips you can keep hackers out of your Facebook profile and be confident in knowing that no one is going through your personal mail or impersonating you through your account!