It’s no fun logging onto Facebook and realizing that your account has been hacked. But it happens, and sometimes the damage done can mean a big deal for you or your friends and family members.
— MakeUseOf (@MakeUseOf) May 16, 2016
Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to prevent an attack, and a few things you can do to fix your Facebook account if it does get hacked.
I’ll show you how to easily make these changes so that you can continue to use your social media account as intended, like watching the most insane 360-degree videos, following the 35 most popular Geek pages on Facebook, or unfriending your friends — whatever floats your boat.
Protect Your Facebook Account
Before we even get into fixing your account, it’s best to know how to prevent would-be hackers from accessing your account. Setting a better password, avoiding spam, and increasing your privacy are just a few methods that could help safeguard your account. Luckily, Facebook has a Privacy Basics page that really helps explain a few things.
Your number one defense: Setting a memorable password (personal identification number, or PIN) that isn’t easily accessible for would-be hackers. While the debate continues on whether a PIN or a fingerprint is more secure, taking time to set up a unique password is always good advice. Enabling fingerprint access is also good advice, and is rather convenient. Though, as a commenter noted, thugs could force your fingerprint password. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Nothing is 100 percent protected.
After you do the basics, there are a more advanced options to consider. You could enable email or login notifications, which you can do under Security Settings > Login Alerts. Unfortunately, Facebook discontinued text notifications some time ago.
Still under security settings, you can check the box for Login Approvals. Doing so requires a security code to be typed when logging in from an unknown device or browser, and is another powerful attack deterrent to consider.
Take Precautions When Browsing Facebook
Still, there are more preventative measures you can take to protect your Facebook account, like avoiding click-bait links. This might seem simple enough, but there are plenty of cases of people clicking spam on Facebook and ruining their computer. It happens. And it sucks. Don’t let it happen to you. Avoid spam links, which may even appear in your Message Request folder.
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) August 26, 2015
Also, you should avoid fake websites that are made to look like Facebook and could steal your sensitive information, which is known as phishing and is not to be taken lightly.
Fake Facebook dislike buttons are being used as a phising tactic – Business Insider http://t.co/dVYlUEMt4i
— Filtered News (@filterednews) September 24, 2015
Adjust Your Facebook Privacy Settings
Another step you can take, which is something I’ve done recently, is to increase privacy settings on your photos, posts, and tags. I decided some time ago that I didn’t want every post and photo tag to be displayed on my wall, and have opted to review each tag before it’s posted. This gives me more control over what is made available to my friends, and has saved me from a few embarrassing posts and photo bombs.
Hiding these items might keep your privacy more intact, especially if you set up specific friend lists. Doing so is a good way to ensure that your items are shown to specific people, and not just your “public” or “friend” list, who could be anyone.
In terms of your Facebook account’s security, this limits the number of comments you receive, and restricts them to the people you trust most. This makes you less likely to click on a link from someone masquerading as your friend.
Now that you’ve done just about everything to prevent an attack, we’ll take a look at the next steps: Identifying whether or not you’ve been hacked.
Identify if Your Facebook Account Has Been Hacked
Usually, this is obvious, as your hacked profile will post ads on your friend’s wall encouraging them to buy a pair of knock-off Raybans (or similar). Your hacked account might also send unwanted emails, change your profile information, or change your email and password. All bad scenarios and something you’d probably want to avoid.
— Adam Moore (@thefarva78) March 17, 2015
Thankfully, there’s an easy way to discover whether or not someone else has logged into your account, which you can check under your security settings section.
Go to Settings > Security > Where You’re Logged In and click edit. The information contained in the section will show where you’ve logged in and with what devices you signed in with. For example, my last log in was in Cologne, Germany on my iPhone, which sounds about right.
The Fix: If you do find a discrepancy with where you’ve logged in, you can easily end the activity of that session, which should help safeguard from any hack attempt on that device.
Check Your Purchase History
There’s also another way to check whether or not you’ve been hacked, and that’s by checking your purchase history. If you have a credit card stored on your account, it’s possible that hackers could make fraudulent app or ad purchases and drive up your credit bill. Obviously, this is another bad scenario that we’d all like to avoid.
To ensure your protection, go to Settings > Payments and check under your payment activity, which should be readily displayed. You can even check your Ads Manager payment history in the same section.
The Fix: If you notice any fraudulent charges, you can inform Facebook with this link. They’re pretty good with replying to concerns, whether that’s through their account or through their official Twitter account.
Here you go, David. We added a new control we didn't provide before. We didn't change any settings. pic.twitter.com/ufg0aa3bzs
— Facebook (@facebook) June 1, 2016
Inform Facebook of Any Hack Attempts
In fact, if you have any problems whatsoever, you should inform Facebook. Facebook is keen to know about hack attempts and wants to do its part to keep the site as safe and secure as possible.
The Fix: You can contact Facebook through its official Twitter account, as I mentioned previously, or you can send a message using your Support Inbox. You can find yours under the Facebook Help Center page, and then by clicking Support Inbox. You can also check out the Bullying Center, Safety Check, and Safety Center pages if you have additional problems.
Safeguard Your Privacy
While nothing is 100 percent protected, there are ways to safeguard your account so that would-be hackers are hard pressed to obtain your data or personal information. By taking these steps and others like it, you’re ensuring that you’re as protected as possible. Even if you’re not overly concerned about your privacy or data, it’s a good idea to get serious about protection and do something about it.
How Do You Protect Your Account?
Check out even more Facebook security methods we’ve written about before to fix your hacked account, because staying on top of your page is more important than you might imagine. And if you’ve been the target of social danger, consider whether cyber insurance is right for you.
Are you concerned about your Facebook data? Have you taken steps to ensure that your account is protected? What steps work for you?
Image Credit: Hacker Using Smart Phone by Andrey_Popov via Shutterstock