Over the last few years, social media giant Facebook has taken a lot of heat for high-profile hacks, including one last year in which nearly 50 million users had their personal information exposed.
And then, of course, there was the Cambridge Analytica debacle, named after the analytics firm that culled data from millions of users’ profiles in working for the Trump campaign.
The truth of all of this, though, is that Facebook’s nearly 2.5 billion monthly active users aren’t exactly going to stop using the platform. After all, we use it to stay in touch with friends and family, to be entertained and to keep up with current events. So, it’s on us, as users, to look out for any telltale signs that our accounts have been compromised and reclaim them if they have.
But, what exactly are the signs that someone has hacked your Facebook account? Here are just a few:
- You can’t access your account.
- Your email and/or password has been changed.
- Your name and/or birthday has been changed.
- You’ve noticed posts on your timeline that you didn’t write.
- Your friends have received messages that you didn’t write.
- Your friends have received friend requests that you didn’t send.
- Your friends have received other requests, such as one to join an app or game.
- People you don’t know have received friend requests from you.
- You’ve noticed apps on your account that you didn’t download.
Have you spotted any of these red flags? You aren’t alone. A 2016 study by the University of Phoenix showed that nearly two-thirds of all social media account holders have been hacked. And, if 2018 was any indication, the numbers have only gone up.
But, there’s no need to fret! Our Kinetic by Windstream team is here to share what to do if your Facebook account has been hacked.
1. Report it to Facebook.
You’ll want to report your hacked Facebook account particularly if you can’t log in. This will help you gain access to your account.
To do so, you’ll start at Facebook’s security checkpoint here. Click on the “My Account Is Compromised” button, and you’ll be prompted to enter an email address or phone number associated with the account. Next, Facebook will ask you to enter a current or former password.
Then, you’ll be asked to select the best option of what’s happened to your account. You should see a screen that looks like the following.
From there, you’ll officially start reclaiming your account. Facebook will ask you to change your password and go through the recent changes to your account to ensure that you — and not a hacker — made those.
2. Regain control of your Facebook account.
If you were able to access your Facebook account, you’ll want to start sifting through to find all the damage. First things first, change your password, and remember to make it a good one! Need some help? Read our tips for ensuring a strong password.
Once you’ve done that, take a look at all the places where your account is logged in, and remove those that don’t belong. To do this, go to your settings and click on the “Security and Login” tab. The next page will display the cities from which the account is currently logged in, along with the device type. If one doesn’t belong, click on the three dots on the right hand side, and select “Not You?” Facebook will then walk you through other ways to secure your account.
You will also want to check for any apps that are attached to your account. To start, head to settings again, but this time, click on “Apps and Websites.” Here, under the “Active” tab, you’ll see what apps and websites you’ve used Facebook to log into and have recently used. If you’ve found an app or website that you haven’t linked, remove it. It’s here, too, that you can choose the amount of information that you want to share from your Facebook account. Know, too, that you can turn off all of Facebook’s integrations with these apps, though it may limit things you may want to do, such as having the app be more relevant to you. Under the “Expired” tab, find apps and websites that you’ve logged into with Facebook and haven’t used in a while. These may have access to information that you have previously shared but cannot access more recent information. You’ll want to look here, too, to remove the apps and websites you no longer want.
3. Take steps to prevent future hacks.
We’ve already mentioned strengthening your password, but there’s an extra measure you can take to ensure your Facebook account won’t be hacked: two-factor authentication. Two-factor verification adds a layer of security to your account by not only prompting you for your password, but also for a one-time code that you’ll receive through either a text message, voice call, email or mobile app, to log in securely. To turn this on, go to the “Security and Login” tab on Facebook and keep an eye out for the “Two-Factor Authentication” subheading.
Under that subheading, you can also review a list of devices that will not require a login code and use special passwords to log into your apps instead of using your Facebook password.
Under “Security and Login,” you can also find other security measures, such as getting alerts about unrecognized logins or choosing a handful of friends to contact if you get locked out of your Facebook account.
Back under the “Apps and Websites” tab, you can fiddle with your preferences, changing whether you send your Facebook information to other apps and websites. It’s here, too, that you can decide how much information you want to share with apps and websites for which you’ve logged in using your Facebook account.
Other places you will want to look are the “Privacy” tab, along with the “Location” tab. Privacy settings will range from who can see your posts and information to whether you want to review posts and things that you’re tagged in. Location is actually turned on or off from the device that you use. If the feature is turned on on your device, only you will be able to see that information, according to Facebook. (Note that this is different from check-ins or tagging a location on a post.)
Once you’ve gone through all of these steps, you’ll want to do one last checkup for good measure. You can go through Facebook’s Security Checkup, but you’ll likely want to do an overall scan of your device for viruses and malware.
Looking for other ways to ramp up your cybersecurity measures? Go with an internet service, like Kinetic Internet, that can not only guarantee speed and reliability, but safety, too.