More than 1 billion people use Facebook. Love it or hate it, Facebook has changed the way we interact with each other. But because of the massive amount of personal information available on Facebook, it is often a target for fraudsters.
Recently, Facebook was struck by another massive data breach. This time, the details of almost 270 million profiles were found for sale.
Was yours among them?
The Latest Data Breach
Data breaches on Facebook happen somewhat often — about once every year. In 2018, a major attack exposed 50 million accounts. This time, the damage is even more widespread.
The leak included not only Facebook IDs, but also names, email addresses, phone numbers, and birth dates. And you can buy this entire trove of personal data for only $500!
The leak, fortunately, did not contain any password information. But it could still be used to harm users in various ways.
The riskiest would involve email or SMS phishing campaigns. Hackers can try these to steal passwords or trick users into downloading malware. And phishing is usually the main reason most people get hacked. Even the recent Twitter hack was the result of an elaborate phishing scheme.
What Should You Do Now?
With 267 million accounts leaked, you should go ahead and assume yours was one of them. The first thing you need to do is go ahead and change your account password. While your current may not have been jeopardized, it’s better to stay on the side of caution. Make your new password complicated and lengthy so that it would stand a chance against brute force techniques.
Then enable two-factor authentication everywhere to create an additional layer of security. And we mean everywhere. Start with Facebook but don’t end there. Every account that uses the same email address as Facebook may be in danger now.
What’s more, you can go ahead and buy yourself a VPN subscription. What is a VPN? VPN (virtual private network) services encrypt and anonymize your internet connection. Using them improves your privacy and security everywhere in the online world. Hackers can’t track your internet activity and leverage that against you. Enable VPN anytime you connect to the internet.
If you choose the best VPN service, it can even save you from some phishing attacks. NordVPN, the leading provider, offers a CyberSec feature which blocks your access to websites that are used for phishing attacks and spreading malware.
Finally, spring-clean your social media. You don’t need to be an open book. Social media is a great place for connecting with people, but you don’t have to make everything about your public information:
- Make your account private.
- Remove your account from search engine listings.
- Erase specific details about yourself and consider removing references to where you work or went to school.
- Delete Facebook friends who you’re no longer in contact with, especially people you’ve never met in real life before.
- Consider using a separate email address for Facebook/social media that isn’t tied to the rest of your life.
- Disable social logins. This is when you log in somewhere using your Facebook account. If your FB gets hacked, then all of these connected accounts become vulnerable.
Protect Yourself Against Facebook Data Breaches
Facebook has many privacy-related issues. And Facebook, along with all the user accounts, are a popular target of cybercriminals.
While the company takes steps to improve internal security, as a user, you have to realize there will always be risks to using the platform.
That’s why you need to take security into your hands.