When a hacker gains access to your Facebook account, he not only obtains your personal information without permission but also trusted links to your friends as well. If you have a credit card number attached to your account or use Facebook to log in to other sites, you have even more to protect. The social network has a few measures to help you secure your account, but you should also take security a step further to prevent hacking over time.
If your password has anything to do with your name, email, street, pet's name or other information people can easily find about you, you risk a hacker attack. If your password is only a simple dictionary word, you risk attack. The simplest way to secure your Facebook is to set a difficult password with numbers, special characters, capital and lowercase letters -- and don't tell anyone else about it. In your General Account Settings under the "Password" heading, Facebook will tell you whether you have a weak, medium or strong phrase as you type it into the "New Password" box. Aim for a strong password as a first step to prevention.
In the "Security" tab of Account Settings, you'll find a list of security measures you can take to protect your personal account. To prevent hacking, enable "Secure Browsing," so people around you cannot intercept your Facebook data. You should also enable "Login Approvals," which sends a security code to your mobile phone when Facebook detects a login from an unknown browser. This way, someone needs both your password and your mobile phone to hack your account -- an unlikely scenario. In the Security section, you will also find "Active Sessions" where you can kick unknown devices off your account, and "Login Notifications" which, when enabled, sends you an email or a text message whenever a new browser logs in to your Facebook profile.
A device filled with malware can create a hole for hackers to enter your account. When you visit a sketchy site or download software, you could unknowingly download key-logging software, which logs every keystroke and sends it back to the hacker. This information would contain your Facebook password, making its difficulty level irrelevant. Keeping your operating system up-to-date can help holes through which these worms can crawl. Equally important, you must keep your virus scan updated and schedule regular scans to protect your device. Identify all the devices you use to access the social network and make sure they stay clean.
On Facebook, you see apps for games, websites and services everywhere. For an app to connect with your account, you must give it permission. Read all the permissions carefully to protect your information, as some apps can access just about everything and can even post on your Timeline for you. See a full list of your apps in Account Settings under the "Apps" tab and access permissions by clicking "Edit" next to an app's name. Remember that this information goes back to the developer, so if you want to keep it private or think that it compromises your security in some way, delete the app by clicking the "X" next to its name.
An unauthorized user can gain access your account through phishing, which takes place when someone sends you a link and asks you to enter your username and password, which they can then use to break into your profile. To prevent this, always access Facebook by typing "facebook.com" directly into your browser. Be suspicious of links you receive in emails and in Facebook messages -- even if they come from a friend. If a link seems odd or out of place, it could have come to you because a friend's account was compromised.
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