Facebook is undeniably popular and is undoubtedly shaping the future of communication. In fact, between 9 and 12 million Australians use Facebook each day. Yep, you read that right. That’s up to half the population using Facebook each day.
So it should come as no surprise that the social media giant is also a popular target for cyber crime. Personal details and information, your employment record, where you are at any given time and possibly even your bank details if you use associated purchasing apps – it’s all out there for everyone to see.
Suffice to say, it pays to keep that information secure. Here are the best ways to secure your Facebook account and keep the cybercriminals at bay.
Use a strong password
The first one is probably obvious, but the most important way to keep your account safe is to choose a secure, strong password. It’s advisable to ensure it’s not the same as one you use elsewhere. You can read this article for best password practices, or find out how to use LastPass – a secure online password manager that makes managing multiple passwords a synch. If you decide that your password needs to be reset, visit the Facebook help centre.
Think before you click
Be mindful of suspicious links, even if they come from your friends or other pages you are following. This means any links in your newsfeed, in your messenger window or any information that appears on other Facebook pages. It only takes one dodgy tag within a post to make a mess of your computer. You should also be wary of downloading files of which you’re unsure, such as .exe or .rar files. If you see something suspicious on Facebook, use its handy report page. You can also read its informative page on how to recognise suspicious emails.
There’s also that old saying that if it appears too good to be true… well, you know the rest. Always check to see that any pages promoting super deals and special offers on the site have been verified by Facebook. Also do the same with games and apps, as developers can use these to gain access to your Facebook account details.
Your friends should be people you know
Sounds silly, but if you’re receiving a friend request from a stranger, it’s probably best to keep them a stranger. Spammers often create fake accounts to lure in unsuspecting Facebook users, to tray and gain access to timelines and account details. This not only endangers your own information, but also that of your friends, so only ‘friend’ the people you actually know.
Keep your login info to yourself
Never give your login details to anyone – including your friends and family. These dayscybercriminals will make ‘amazing’ offers via Facebook if you share your login details. Facebook will never ask you to share your login details with anyone so don’t be fooled into doing so. Also, if you are ever asked on a page to re-enter your password, or you change your password in your account settings page, make sure the URL still has ‘facebook.com/’ at the start of the address in the browser.
If you are using a public computer, or even your friend’s laptop or smartphone, you should always be careful to log out of Facebook. That way you delete your login details.
Check that Facebook is at www.facebook.com
It’s not uncommon for internet scammers to set up a fake page that looks eerily similar to a Facebook page, but not quite. These suspicious pages will ask you for your login details, but it is really just doing something called ‘phishing’ – as in fishing for information. If you’re ever suspicious of a page, report it and never enter any details if you’re not sure about it coming from Facebook. Always check your browser address bar for the web address. It should always begin with facebook.com/.
Update your browser
The newest versions of the web browser you use will have the latest security measures and built-in protection from all the most recent viruses and hacks. Some will even have the ability to warn you of any sites that may not be what they initially appear. Keeping your browser up to date will provide you with the most up-to-date protection.
Download the latest version of your browser here:
Protect yourself from viruses
It’s advisable to run anti-virus software on a regular basis so as to keep your computer clean from viruses and malware. Ryan has a great article outlining the different types of anti-virus software available, both paid and free. Why not learn more about anti virus software and how it can protect you from cyber nasties?