Was Your Facebook Hacked?

It seems like there is a distinct uptick in the hacking of Facebook accounts right now. Between the pandemic and the upcoming US election, it makes sense.

It seems that there are more and more people who have become medical experts during the pandemic on platforms like Facebook. Many people have also become prognosticators of every horrible thing that will happen if either our current President is re-elected or a new President wins the White House. Such is the social media landscape these days. It will be so refreshing when these platforms settle in to being communication mediums that keep people connected across the miles instead of platforms for the things that divide us.

My point being that the bad actors out there have noticed our social discourse and realize it is an excellent platform to leverage to divide and confuse us. There are so many trolls, be they individual or state sponsored, that use social media to push their agendas at the expense of the mostly innocent users who just want to remain connected with others. As a result, hacking social media accounts has become a large enterprise and it seems to be happening on Facebook more frequently.

What this points to is poor passwords and lack of proper security settings on individual Facebook accounts. This type of account takeover simply should not be so easy to do, yet it is. So what should you do? To start, check the following:

  1. Set a password that is long and complex. I recommend at least 16 characters with a randomized mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. It should not be any type of phrase that could be linked to you. In other words, not family or pet names, not streets you have lived on, etc. It should be truly random. Use a password generator and a password manager to create and save these passwords so that you can easily find and use them across all your devices.

  2. Enable multi-factor authentication. This one simple step will prevent the majority of account takeovers. You setup two-factor authentication in the Settings & Privacy-Settings-Security and Login section on Facebook.

  3. Review the devices you have connected to Facebook from in the same Settings & Privacy-Settings-Security and Login section and remove any devices that you no longer use.

  4. Review the Authorized Logins and App Passwords in this same section and remove any that are not current and required.

  5. Consider enabling some or all of the setting under Setting Up Extra Security. Facebook is making more and more controls available to secure your account and you should take their advice!

  6. Finally, under Settings & Privacy run the Privacy Checkup and be sure you have your account properly locked down from a pure privacy perspective. You want to think hard about sharing anything with friends of friends. These are people who are not directly your friend on Facebook. It's a way your information can leak out beyond your circle of friends, which is a common problem as you don't know those people and how they use Facebook to interact with others.

Go through these simple six steps and you will have a far more secure Facebook account and one that will likely not get hacked. Don't become the latest person to post the embarrassing "I've been hacked, ignore my posts and delete any direct messages from me" poster.