Facebook is one of the most visited websites on the Internet. It even surpassed Google as the most visited website back in 2010. Its unprecedented and continuous growth is due to its updates and improvements. The current form of Facebook looks very different from its first version.
At its core is social interaction. Users actively share their thoughts, interests, activities, and anything they find on the Internet. The willingness of people to post almost all aspects of their lives makes the website a hotbed for attacks and privacy threats. Even Facebook itself was questioned multiple times about how it handles users' data.
While you cannot do much on how Facebook uses your data, you must protect yourself from third-party attacks. The combination of the users' readily available information and known vulnerabilities makes it easy for hackers to find their next victims. Here's a complete guide on how to protect your Facebook account.
Guide to Protect your Facebook Account
Protecting your Profile
The first thing that you need to know is how your profile looks to the public. Go to your Timeline and click on the three-dot menu right beside View Activity Log. On the drop-down, click View As...
The public will always view your profile photo, cover photo, and your name. The rest of the information in your profile such as your posts, photos, friends, and personal information can be customized.
Ideally, you'd want to remove or hide information such as your birthday, your place of work, and your personal contact information. To do this, go to About tab in your Timeline and edit the information that you share.
One of the first things you should have customized right after creating your account is your security and login methods. Click the ▼ on your navigation then choose Settings. Go to the Security and login tab on the left-hand menu.
On this page, check the devices where your account is logged in under Where you're logged in. Delete sessions on the devices that you don't regularly use. You can also change your password in Login.
Under Setting up extra security, it is strongly recommended to turn on Get alerts about unrecognized logins to inform you of any illegal login attempts on your account. Similarly, to add a layer of protection, enable Use two-factor authentication. It will require you to enter a code sent to you via SMS before logging in to your account.
Now that you secure your profile, it is time to ensure that your posts and the posts your seeing are safe from vulnerabilities.
By default all your posts are Public. That means anyone looking at your Timeline can see your entire personal feed. Typically, you would like to limit your posts to your friends only. To customize this, go back to Settings, then go to the Privacy tab on the left-hand menu.
Under Who can see my stuff? Customize this to the most secure. Set your posts to be viewable by your friends only. Moreover, you can change the privacy of your past posts using Limit Past Posts.
Another important option is to adjust settings on Who can look me up?. This option is for to the contact information you have on your profile. Again, you can set this to the most private option. Additionally, you can also prevent search engines from indexing your profile outside Facebook.
If you want more control on your posts privacy, you can quickly change the settings of each post by clicking on the privacy options right next to the Post button.
If you still prefer having Public posts and profile, you can always control interactions in it. Go to Public posts and customize to the highest privacy.
You may be careful about posting sensitive information that can be used by cybercriminals, but your friends might not be as vigilant. You can customize how your friends associate posts on your Timeline by going to Timeline and tagging.
In this tab, you can control who can add things to your timeline and review posts where you've been tagged and manage them. You can also change who can see elements in your Timeline.
It is ideal to turn on post reviews and tagged posts in your Timeline. This ensures that even when your friends tag you in sensitive posts, it only stays within your circle.
Applications are one of the gateways used by hackers to gain access to your account. Furthermore, apps collect data which can be used to infiltrate not only your Facebook account but other associated platforms and websites with the same information.
Go to Apps, tab on the left-hand menu.
Remove all applications that are not necessary to your daily Facebook activities. Note that some websites where you used your Facebook account to log in will also show up here. Be careful when deleting each app and assess whether it is necessary or not.
Scroll down and take note of the options under Apps, Web sites and Plug-ins and Apps others use. For tighter security, you can disable using Facebook with third-party applications and websites altogether. That means all your information stays on Facebook. You can also adjust what information apps can access from your profile.
Standard safety precautions still apply when protecting your Facebook account. Threats come from all kinds of sources. It is best to protect both your Facebook account and your computer to avoid one infecting the other.
Clean browsing habit is a proper prevention and protection from attacks and threats. Make sure that you're only visiting legitimate and secure websites.