Across the digital world, social network users are becoming increasingly concerned with the security of their profiles. Facebook security measures, in particular, have become a vital arm of every networker looking to secure their profile information and online privacy.
Currently, Facebook boasts over 83 million fake accounts, looking to spread misinformation, spam or malicious links. Additionally, 600,000 Facebook accounts are hacked into on a daily basis. That’s a whole lot of security risk.
Facebook themselves have taken steps to increase security awareness, such as the launch of the official Facebook Security page, but the numbers prove that these steps are simply not sufficient.
Why care about Facebook security?
For many people, Facebook represented their personal, social and professional image online to a variety of friends, family, and even colleagues. Keeping up a high level of security on such an open platform must be paramount for every user.
Hackers, fraudsters, identity thieves and others all use and hack into Facebook profiles as a means to their illegal ends. So, what exactly are the best ways to keep your Facebook account safe and secure?
1. Manage your security settings
Your first step to a safer, more secure Facebook account is to visit your Facebook security settings page. This can be found by clicking on the gear button located at the top right-hand corner of your Facebook screen, followed by clicking “Account Settings”, then by clicking “Security Settings” on the left-hand sidebar.
The screen that will be presented to you will allow you to modify settings regarding your security questions, app passwords, current active sessions, and more. Checking, and enabling all of these options and features will enhance the security around your Facebook account immensely.
2. Keep your mobile devices protected
Day by day, mobile devices are becoming the quickest and easiest way of interacting with friends and family through platforms such as Facebook. Generally speaking, you only need to log in once, allowing you to enjoy speedy access to the Facebook app whenever you want to, with no security measures being applied. Naturally, this is a hacker’s dream.
The key to keeping your Facebook applications safe on your mobile devices is to enforce a password or passcode lock on your device. No access to the device means no access to Facebook.
For some, this may be an obvious tip, but s surprising 30% of mobile device owners do not protect their devices. It goes without saying that other sensitive information will also be kept safe with this vital security measure.
3. Use secure browsing
Since 2011, Facebook has allowed its users to browse its social network via a HTTP secure connection. Put simply, a HTTP secure connection is achieved whenever the URL begins with https:// instead of http://.
Browsing Facebook without an HTTP secure connection keeps your data open to attacks any time you use free Wi-Fi (which could be in a Starbucks, library or hotel lobby). The downside is, using a HTTP secure connection can slow down the performance of the website itself, making the Facebook experience a little less thrilling.
4. Only add real friends
Many Facebook users are unaware of the dangers of accepting random friend requests. Becoming friends with somebody on Facebook allows the to access personal information about you, including your full name, location, place of birth, birthday and more.
Such information can easily be exploited by identity thieves, and so it’s always the best policy to reject friend requests from people you don’t actually know in person.
5. Customize your Facebook Privacy Settings
Keeping your personal information private, instead of broadcasting it to the wider world, is a great idea in terms of security. By default, information such as your date of birth, location, and so forth are all accessible to Facebook users who do not even know you.
To change this, head over to your privacy settings, which can be found by clicking on the gear button located at the top right-hand corner of your Facebook screen, followed by clicking “Privacy Settings”.
Once you have entered the privacy settings page, you can begin to select who can view your personal information. You can also specify which group of people are allowed to search for you via the Facebook search function.
Taking these steps to privatize your information greatly reduces the risk of potential identity theft, and general hacking attempts.
6. Don’t overuse passwords
Using the same password for your email address and your Facebook account is asking for big, big trouble.
A hacker who gains access to your Facebook account will immediately have access to your registered email address. Using the same password for both accounts merely opens the door to a full-scale hack and theft of personal information, files, images, passwords, and more. So, it is hugely important to take the time to create separate passwords for each of your networking accounts.
7. Log out after you use Facebook
A very simple, yet extremely effective way of keeping out unwanted Facebook guests. When browsing the web on public devices such as at libraries, forgetting to log out of your Facebook account can prove very dangerous.
Although you may be lucky to get away with a comical prank, the risk of becoming a victim of fraud, identity theft, or worse would certainly be prominent.
8. Don’t go Facebook App crazy
Facebook offers its users a huge range of third-party apps, some of which unfortunately pose extreme security threats. In the past, many malicious Facebook apps have spammed users and hijacked accounts.
To combat this, Facebook has since put a number of safety protocols, such as App Passwords, in place to better vet their apps and ensure security. However, it is also a good idea to examine each app properly before giving it access to your Facebook information.
9. Back up your data
Facebook offers you the option to backup your personal data, ranging back from the very first day you opened your account. Essentially, you can download a full online social history of yourself. This can be done by clicking on the gear button located at the top right-hand corner of your Facebook screen, followed by clicking “Account Settings”, and then “Download a Copy of your Facebook Data”.
Having updated versions of your Facebook-based information will greatly increase your chances of recovering your account if it should ever come under any type of attack, or be lost in some way.
10. Confirm your mobile number
Along with adding trusted contacts, confirming your mobile number is one of many ways to enhance your account security on Facebook. This way, even when you lose or forget your password, Facebook will be able to send you a new one via SMS.
To access this option, click on the gear button located at the top right-hand corner of your Facebook screen, followed by clicking “Account Settings”, then by clicking “Mobile” on the left-hand sidebar.
Along with extra benefits, such as being able to make status updates and view friend requests, adding your mobile phone number to your Facebook account allows you to quickly recover your account, should it ever be compromised by unruly hackers.
11. Don’t click “Keep Me Logged In”
Whenever you wish to log in to your Facebook account, a small checkbox that says “Keep Me Logged in” is present. In public spaces, or even on devices used by multiple users, it is vital that this box is unchecked. Keeping it unchecked will automatically log you off of Facebook after a short period of idle time, increasing your account’s security.
When using public computers, it is not uncommon to find these boxes already checked, so it pays to be extra vigilant.
12. Use trusted contacts
Recently, Facebook introduced the Trusted Contacts feature, which asks you to select a small group of close, reliable friends. These friends will be your point of call in the event you can’t access your account, and your security questions have been changed, or have been forgotten. Facebook will then send different codes to these friends, which need to be put together to make one code, eventually granting you access to your account.
Although this Facebook security feature is a bit of a chore for you and your trusted contacts, it’s a good, secure way of getting into your account if it’s been compromised by hackers.
13. Avoid spam links
As time goes on, it seems that more and more spam links are appearing on the Facebook feeds of every user. The types of link attacks include money scams through direct or indirect requests via Facebook messages, chat and so forth. Phishing links that will redirect you to fake websites are also prominent.
These malicious links are able to retrieve your personal information or even harm your computer. There are also chances you may receive emails from ‘Facebook’ – when in reality, a phishing website is luring you into a scam, or worse.
14. Use a strong password
Strong passwords are essential for all online and offline applications, but Facebook especially. with over 600,000 Facebook hackings every day, having a complex password might be a good idea. Adding a mixture of numbers, letters and punctuation mark help, along with upper and lower case letters.
Additionally, changing your password regularly will help keep hackers at bay.
15. Block malicious people, apps, and events
Sometimes, hackers or malicious Facebook accounts or applications are easy to spot. If you are able to identify dangerous people, apps or events, head over to the clocking page, where you can specify which users and applications to block.
To access these options, click on the gear button located at the top right-hand corner of your Facebook screen, followed by clicking “Account Settings”, then by clicking “Blocking” on the left-hand sidebar.
By blocking such users and applications, you can avert malicious links and requests, stopping threats before they can even reach you.
So there you have it, fifteen of the most effective Facebook security tips which will greatly enhance your safety online. The importance of keeping your account safe in public spaces, as well as on your mobile devices is absolutely vital.
Taking these measures, paired with a watchful eye on dangerous looking links and applications, should certainly be enough to avert any hacking, phishing or fraud-based dangers.