The Cambridge Analytica revelations and the latest data breach that exposed accounts of 50 million Facebook accounts may be the main reason why people no longer trust the popular social network.
But these major media-driven stories should not be the only concern for Facebook users. The social media environment encourages to consume more content at a faster rate, which often leads to clicking links stuffed with viruses or malware.
The best solution here would be to avoid following links offered by unknown parties or suspicious links from friends and family. But there are also many more steps involved in ensuring your privacy on Facebook.
Following these simple steps will enhance the security of your Facebook account and help you avoid falling a victim of cybercrime.
Create Strong Passwords
Many users often use easy-to-guess passwords to protect their Facebook accounts. While using password123 or your pet’s name makes logging in more convenient, it certainly opens your account up to a “brute force” attack. These attacks are simple trial and error attempts made by a hacker to guess your username and password. Therefore, the time-tested advice to choose a random username and a unique, complex password certainly apply to Facebook.
Many people access Facebook using public computers, available at schools or libraries. If you are one of them, make sure to log out when you are finished, so the next person does not have access to your Facebook profile.
Use a Different First Name
It is true that Facebook does not want you to create a “fake identity” on their platform. However, you are allowed to use a nickname or shortened version of your name. This is a great idea for Facebook users as it limits the amount of detailed information a stranger could obtain about you. Excluding or changing your middle name is also suggested.
It is vital to remember that the only way to ensure your privacy is to limit the information you provide about yourself. If your full name is available and a photo of your house happens to be on your profile, you could easily be found by someone with nefarious intent.
Take Advantage of Privacy Settings
If you haven’t renewed your privacy settings lately, now might be the time to do that. Allowing random strangers to monitor your social media activity can be extremely dangerous. Therefore, consider limiting full access to your profile and photos only to your Facebook friends.
Phishing links or malicious attachments are often sent to users via apps like Facebook Messenger. So limiting access to your account can also help to prevent hacking attempts. If you manage your privacy settings right, a hacker won’t be able to contact you this way, unless they are already on your Friend’s list.
Evaluate Apps Before Allowing Permissions
Many users think that all apps offered to Facebook users are safe and free form malware. It is actually quite the opposite. Most Facebook apps require you to provide full access to your account information and contacts. If the app happens to be infected, this could open your entire list of friends up to attacks.
If you intend to download an app, check its rating first and read what other users have to say about it. Also, do not download apps from unofficial stores and sketchy websites, as this is the straightest way to infecting your device with malware. It is always a good idea to use Google to check the background of an app and ensure there are no scams attached to its name.
Use a VPN
Everyone loves public Wi-Fi, including hackers who lurk there waiting for unsuspecting users. If you connect your device to an unprotected Wi-Fi hotspot, you are putting yourself at risk. Hackers can intercept your connection and watch you typing your Facebook password or logging into other sensitive accounts.
If you don’t like the idea of someone snooping over your shoulder and potentially stealing your information, but still want to use public Wi-Fi, getting a reliable VPN is a must.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is an encryption tool that could prevent a hacker from spying on your activity. It acts as a shield around your data, saving you from password theft or worse. Virtual Private Networks are now available on every possible platform or operational systems including Android devices or IOS.
Social media is becoming more popular day by day, so are the attempts to take advantage of unsuspecting users. With 84% of adults now on some sort of social media, including Facebook, it is time to start taking the security of your personal seriously.