Several times a month I learn that one of my friends on Facebook has been hacked.
Here are some simple practices that will help to prevent that from happening.
#1 – Enable HTTPS
When you bookmark the URL for Facebook or any of your other social networks, be sure to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. This encrypts your communications.
In fact, you will have to temporarily disable this feature any time you give access to a new application. That alone should give you confidence that you have achieved a greater level of protection.
#2 – Disable Online Chat
All of us have witnessed Facebook scams, with the most common being the infamous chat message … “I’m in the UK and have been mugged – please send money so I can get back home.”
While I have no technical basis for this, it stands to reason that the hackers get in through the chat service. Every time I have noticed bogus comments allegedly made by me to my Facebook friends, it is because I had previously used the online chat.
To disable chat just click on the little wheel in the right sidebar and take yourself offline. Then close the window and make sure is registers as chat offline.
#3 – Review Permissions Granted to Third Party Apps
When you grant access to Facebook apps, those permissions endure long after you stop using them. Go to this link to review your Facebook app permissions – and disable any you are no longer using.
You will probably be surprised at the long list permissions your have previously granted!
#4 – Activate Text Message Notifications
Facebook allows you to receive text notifications whenever your account is accessed from a device other than your primary computer or mobile device.
You simply go to Account Settings and then to Security Settings to set-up the proper notifications to your mobile device.
First go to login approvals – then login notifications.
You can only choose email or text notifications. By choosing text notifications you not only get an immediate notice, but you also activate both your mobile device and your primary computer as approved access points.
#5 – Maintain Public and Private Email Addresses
The email address you use for Facebook should be distinct from the one you use where security is more critical – such as your online banking or Paypal account.
If your Facebook account gets hacked its embarrassing. If that is the same email used on your more secure accounts, now that vulnerability could be costly.
Obviously, if you are selective with your email addresses and periodically change your passwords, you minimize your chances of being hacked.
Did you know that anyone can search Facebook for an email address? For example, if you are looking a common name such as John Smith, you only need to search with their email to find the right one.
This is handy for finding your friends on Facebook, but also useful for hackers. The safe bet is to use distinct passwords for your public and private email addresses.
There are even more ways to protect your Facebook and other online accounts, but these 5 are the most essential, and they are specific to Facebook, which seems to be the site that is the most vulnerable.
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Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions.
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Until tomorrow, Jeff