Facebook is the largest social media website today with a worldwide membership of 2.23 billion users. It is also considered the most active social media platform based on count of daily users. Subsequently, it is often the central focus of attacks by hackers and those who wish to steal information from its users. Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, have already faced a lot of controversies over how the network handles the personal information of its users. Just recently, they were faced with yet another controversy dealing with the information of its users. There was an attack on its network that exposed the personal information of over 50 million users!
About the Facebook Security Breach
The recent Facebook security breach is the largest of its kind in the 14-year history of Facebook as a social network. According to initial reports, the attackers used a code in Facebook that enabled them to gain access to user accounts. Some reports even claim that it enables the attacker to take control of user accounts!
Following the report of this incident, Facebook developed fixes for the security loophole. They also reassured Facebook users that the appropriate law enforcement authorities have been notified about the attack.
To this day, though, Facebook remains mum about the origin or identity of the attackers. They said that there is still an ongoing investigation and their priority is to help users restore and secure their respective accounts. The full scope of the attack also remains unknown at this moment. Representatives from Facebook have also said that the investigation for this attack is still in the initial phase. They are unsure for now if there were specific users that were targeted by the attack as well. But one thing that they do know right now is that the attackers used a bug on the ‘View As’ feature on Facebook. This particular feature enables Facebook users to view their public facing profile — to see at as it is viewed by other users. This feature was originally designed to help users to understand and better control how much personal information they’re sharing on their profiles.
The report about the incident took place after over 90 million users were logged out of their accounts. This is a common safety feature executed by Facebook whenever there is a threat to the safety of the user’s account. Many Facebook users utilized other social media profiles to voice their concern about being forcefully logged out of their accounts.
The software flaws on Facebook have been the center of criticism. Hackers are able to exploit these flaws to gain access to user accounts. Even the accounts of top Facebook executives like Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg were once hacked, too. It is unsettling for Facebook to experience so many software flaws given the pride it takes in its engineering.
Aside from the ability to gain access to user accounts, there is an even bigger risk from the security breach. It can also allow the attackers to gain access to Instagram, Spotify, and other accounts that are linked to the user’s Facebook account.
Tips to Protect Your Facebook Account
Concern and worry were running high soon after the Facebook attack happened. Users were curious about the extent of the attack and if their accounts were compromised. If you are worried about your own Facebook account, it is important to take precautionary steps. These steps are designed to keep your account secure and to ensure that no sensitive information can be stolen from you:
- The first step that you must take following the Facebook security breach is to change your password. This is especially important if you have other accounts linked to your Facebook.
- If your old Facebook password is similar to the ones used on your other social media accounts, you should change those, too. If possible, choose complex passwords with various characters and numbers. It is important to brush up on how to create a strong password to increase your security level. Strong passwords are those that contain special symbols and numbers, along with variations of upper and lower case letters. Even without a known security threat, it is also recommended that you should change your password regularly.
- If your Facebook is logged into different devices, you need to log out from those other devices. You can also go to the ‘Security and login’ page on your Facebook profile. You can change the settings there so you will get a notification if your account is logged in from a suspicious location.
- Consider using two-factor authentication. This is a new security feature that was introduced by Facebook to enhance the security on every user account. Aside from your password, you will also be required to provide a unique verification code. This will help to protect your account in the event that someone has access to your password. You can also activate the two-factor authentication from the ‘Security and login’ tab on your Account.
- Lastly, this is an important tip that experts suggest for securing your Facebook account. Do not ever use the ‘Remember Password’ feature on your browser. If you activate this feature, it would be easy for attackers to access your account if your browser or device is compromised.
- You must remove suspicious applications from your Facebook account. To check if there are any, go to Settings > Apps and Websites. You can see the entire list if you click on the ‘Show All’ option. If you see any application that you did not give permission to in your Facebook account, remove it.
- If you think your Facebook account is compromised, it is important that you inform your friends and family. If the attacker accessed your personal messages, or sent suspicious links to your friends, they will be alerted about it. Make sure to let them know immediately that it wasn’t you that sent those suspicious messages or links.
Even before the recent Facebook security attack, the issue of privacy and security has always been persistent among Facebook users. So, it is recommended that you perform regular security checks on your accounts. It is also good practice to change your password regularly to keep your account secure. While these threats are out there, you need to keep these tips in mind to protect your own privacy.