Help! My Facebook Has Been Hacked!
Last week, Facebook discovered that hackers obtained access to the accounts of nearly 50 million users. The attack was complex and exploited several bugs in Facebook’s software for the “view as” feature which lets you view your profile as another user. The hackers were able to collect “access tokens”, digital keys stored when you chose to stay logged in on a device, which allowed them to invade personal accounts. Facebook is not able to tell exactly when the attack occurred but says it appears to have happened after the video-uploading program in the “view as” feature went live in July of 2017. Since resetting access tokens and forcing around 90 million users to log out, Facebook has reported that the software bugs have been fixed, law enforcement has been notified, and the “view as” feature has been disabled for further security review. It is unknown at this time if any accounts were misused, what information was accessed, and who is behind the attacks.
This is just one example of many ways in which your Facebook may be compromised without you even knowing. Today, Facebook data is stolen by hackers for various reasons. Some of these may include:
• Selling your information on the dark web
• Demanding ransom for personal information or photos
• Tracking your movements and activities
• Using your linked payment accounts to shop
• Stealing your identity
So, how do you check if your Facebook has been hacked?
1. Login to your Facebook account, click on the dropdown arrow in the top right corner of the page, and click on Settings.
2. Go to the “Security and Login” tab and look at the “Where You’re Logged In” section. If you do not recognize a login, click on the three dots to the right of that login and click “Not You?”.
**If there is a login listed from a mobile device that does not actually represent your current location, it could still be you logged in. Facebook’s Help Center states, “Often, when signing in through a mobile device, you're routed through an IP address that doesn’t actually reflect your actual current location.”**
3. Once you confirm that you did not log in from a listed location, you can click the “Secure Account” button. Facebook will then take you through a few steps to help you secure your account and delete any posts not made by you.
I followed the steps above using my own Facebook account. Turns out someone was logged into my account 22 hours ago in Texas and posting items for sale on Facebook Marketplace while I am in Colorado!
How do you keep your account safe for the future?
It can be jarring to discover someone has been using your Facebook and it can even be even more detrimental should they use your own information against you. Here are a few ways to keep your Facebook and other social media accounts safe from hackers.
1. Don’t use the same or a similar password across multiple sites.
2. Turn on login alerts.
3. Enable two-factor authentication.
4. Choose trusted contacts who can help unlock your account in the future if it becomes hacked.
5. Close accounts that you’re no longer using.
6. Do not click on suspicious links. If prompted in an email to change your password, change it directly on the website which houses your account.
7. Check which applications you have connected to your social media accounts and determine if those connections are necessary.
8. Keep applications updated to the latest version.
With 1.47 billion daily active users as of June 2018, Facebook has become a go-to platform to connect with friends, join interest groups, organize events, sell stuff, and more. Because of this, hackers have made Facebook and other social media websites a target for malicious activity. Be sure to maintain diligence, check to see if your account may have been compromised, and follow the steps above to keep you and your family safe on social media.
By the way, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month - check out other NCASM 2018 posts here.
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