As Facebook has emerged as the most popular Social Networking site (with a user base of 800 Million active users) it has also gained attention of hackers and spammers. What is the Best practices to stay safe on Facebook and avoid being hacked? As in the case of Windows, the more popular it is, more are the chances of it getting attacked. The reason that both Windows and Facebook are easy target is same: it has large number of population and most of them are common users with limited or no knowledge of “security”. It is an open secret that people are the weakest link when it comes to security. Keeping this in mind, I would like to request readers not to be the weakest link and to follow these best practices to avoid being hacked:
Enable Secure Browsing:
A number of users use wi-fi to access internet which makes them more prone to be hacked. A hacker, if in range of your wi-fi, may not even need to know your Wi-Fi to hack your account. He can just listen (capture packet) to the network know your password in the air.
All major Social Network sites like Facebook and Twitter has the feature of “Secure Browsing”. It provides a secure connection (by scrambling the data packets) from your computer to Facebook server and thus keeping your account secure. Go to Account settings and enable this feature.
Enable Login Notification:
The Login notification sends email and/or text message each time your Facebook account is accessed from a new device (i.e. apart from the your own computer(s)). The message also contains the possible location from where it has been accessed. These notification keeps you updated on any unusual activity with your account.
To enable this feature, similar to previous, go to your account settings-> go to security settings->enable login notifications
Enable Login approvals:
This one is not advisable for everyone. Only hyper-security-sensitive people should it. This feature sends an activation code in text message to your cellphone every time your account is tried to be accessed from an unknown device. Not advisable, because it is more of a hindrance than a security feature. What if you forgot to carry your cellphone with you and try to access from a friend’s computer or a cyber cafe? It is up to you if you want to enable this feature.
Install WOT add-on:
Web Of Trust (WOT) has a ranking system which informs the user how much they can trust a website (or website link). Green means good, Yellow means doubt, Red means danger. Facebook has seen a number of spams in recent time. If you have WOT plugin installed in your web browser you can see the WOT sign besides the website links in Facebook (and any other site). This keeps you away from clicking on an unsuspecting spam links posing as a video link on youtube.
Firefox and Google Chrome both has WOT plugin. You can search them and install it. Go to Tools->Add-ons and search for WOT in Mozilla Firefox. In Google Chrome, go to Chrome Web Store and search for WOT.
Protect your password:
Passwords are like chewing gums. It testes great when new and you don’t share it with others. Keep changing your password on a regular basis. Have a strong password with combination of lower case, upper case, numbers and special characters ($,# etc). Please do no share your password with anyone (not even your lover though it could be tricky whether you want to save your account or your relationship ) and also don’t use “stay sign in” everywhere.
I know you like to brag about a number things and wants your friends to know them. But can you trust them? A study shows that most of the Facebook users have unknown people in their friend list. People whom you do not remember or know but add them just because you have several mutual friends.
Please do not share your phone number, your birth-year (if you do not want to miss the birthday wishes by hiding your date of birth) even with your friends on your profile.
Keep your profile privacy settings correct. If you have doubts on what to change or what not to change in your Facebook privacy settings, I would suggest you to use Secure.me. This application scans your Facebook profile and finds possible vulnerabilities in your profile settings. Here is the result of my facebook Profile analysis:
Don’t click on just everything:
Yes, you heard it right, Don’t click on just everything. Sometimes it is also advisable to use common sense and stay away from tempting spam titles like Girls showed boob on live tv or Dad killed daughter on facebook. By clicking on these types of links you only let people know how lame you are. Be smart not a noob.
If you are using Windows without Anti-Virus installed on your system, only God can save you (though I doubt on that as well). There are a number of free Anti-Virus available including Microsoft’s own Security Essentials. Grab one and (at least) feel secure. It may help you in detecting any backdoor or trojan application installed on your system and stealing your information including your login credentials.
I hope that you follow these best practices to stay safe on Facebook and avoid being hacked to stay safe and secure on Facebook. Got other tips? Do share it with us. Cheers