Melanie is a tech YouTuber who loves social media and is an expert on internet culture. She also runs a YouTube channel: The Curious Coder.
Having your Facebook account hacked is bad news, but there are many ways to protect yourself from getting hacked.
The best way to keep your information safe online (whether it's Facebook, your email, bank accounts, etc.) is to learn how hackers get their hands on your personal information.
Hackers can use your Facebook credentials to spam your friends, write embarrassing things on your wall, lock you out of your account (and more.)
A hacker can get access to your Facebook account through a number of methods. By learning these methods, you can do a lot to help prevent against both identity theft and embarrassment.
Check out each of the methods hackers use to get their hands on your Facebook account and find out what you can do to stop them dead in their tracks.
Hacking Facebook with a Keylogger
The keylogger Facebook hack is a very easy way that people can get access to your information. This method utilizes either hardware or software called a keylogger (or keystroke recorder) which is installed on your computer. It works by "remembering" everything you type on your keyboard.
Keyloggers usually save the information you type into a text file which can be sent out over the Internet to the hacker.
This is perhaps one of the scariest methods of hacking because every word you type, not just on Facebook, is sent out. If you visit your bank's website, check your email, and log in to PayPal, while a keystroke recorder is installed on your computer, all this information might be in someone else's hands.
Keep in mind that keyloggers are not solely used for malicious activities. For example, employers often put it on company computers to ensure that employees are working (and not playing on Facebook.) Parents might also put a keylogger on their home computer to ensure their child's safety on the Internet.
HTTP Session Hijacking
HTTP session hijacking (also known as side jacking) attacks have become incredibly common since the release of Firesheep, a Firefox add-on that shows security holes in websites.
This works over public networks. For example, if you're sitting in a cafe and are logged into Facebook, another person in the cafe can use Firesheep to use your Facebook. While the person can't get your login credentials, they can use your Facebook as if they were you (except for major account changes like changing your password.) They can post embarrassing updates, delete some of your friends, send messages, etc... Scary, right?
There are ways you can protect yourself:
- Log out of sites when you're not using them, especially if you're on a public network.
- Use a Virtual Private Network. This will make your data secure before sending it out to the public router.
- Install FireSheep and see if your information appears. If it does, you know that your data is at risk.
- Force websites to use an SSL connection with software like HTTPS Everywhere.
Choose a Secure Password
Having an easy-to-remember, but a hard-to-guess password is perhaps one of the most important areas of online security. In fact, thousands of people are hacked simply because they have a really bad password.
Passwords that consist of a word are incredibly easy to hack, even if it's an obscure, unabridged dictionary word like dactylozooid. These types of passwords are easily cracked using a method called a dictionary attack. Even though it might seem like common sense to avoid passwords like this, one of the most commonly hacked passwords is "monkey."
There are a number of other non-dictionary passwords that are easy to guess, simply because they are so common. These passwords include password1234, 1234567, iloveyou, and qwerty. Please don't use qwerty as a password!
Selecting a non-guessable password is only part of the story. Another (and arguably equally important) area of password security is password reuse. Do not use the same password across multiple sites. If a website is hacked (such as the recent Associated Content hack), your username and password can be stolen. If you use the same credentials across a number of sites, then you might find yourself in hot water.
Logged in Facebook Accounts
Whether you're at home or on a public network, it's a good idea to log out of Facebook when you're not using it, especially when you're on a shared computer.
Facebook saves a cookie when you log in, so even if you navigate away, you may still be logged in. Nosy kids or other users might navigate to Facebook and see that someone else (you) is logged in and snoop around.
Make sure you log out when you're done. For an added security measure, you might want to change your browser settings so it deletes cookies when you close it.
Additionally, don't allow your browser to save passwords. Unless you're sure your computer won't be used by others, having your browser remember passwords can be a bad idea.
© 2012 Melanie Palen
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on December 28, 2012:
Mel, awesome information here. You reminded me to do a malware sweep, too. I'm the only one who uses my computer but still, it's better to be safe than sorry!
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on November 09, 2012:
Good, useable information. Thanks
Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on August 20, 2012:
Mel, although it hasn't happened to me-yet-you've given me lots of food for thought. I still haven 't gotten up the nerve to try Internet banking because of these risks. A lot of important information here.
thetechbarbie on August 18, 2012:
Great hub . I can't believe people use passwords like qwerty, and password.
Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on August 17, 2012:
melbel, wow! Lots of great info here. Your examples of how these things happen helped me gain a better perspective. Thanks for sharing with us.
Tammy from North Carolina on August 17, 2012:
Excellent hub I wish you had wrote a long time ago. Being hacked is a terrible thing. A few months ago I went away for a long weekend and my Facebook was hacked. The hacker contacted everyone in my friends list and invited them to watch my private home videos of.. lets say naughty things. I had 100 people text me within an hour telling me I was hacked. It was a nightmare. These naughty messages went out to friends, families, old bosses, acquaintences.. People need to take this stuff seriously. Great hub that I will be using.
Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on August 17, 2012:
You give us all a good reminder to be attentive. I think an across the board passwords refresh is in my near future. Voted up and sharing.
Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on August 17, 2012:
Awesome! Or not! Wow - not too difficult to understand so I bet it would be super easy to use any method mentioned to hack. I can't wait to try it!!
Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on August 17, 2012:
Ok - Talk about making a person very paranoid. Now I want to go out and change all of my passwords and stop being online. Great advice and it is truly scary!
Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on August 16, 2012:
Very useful information, learned a lot. Sounds like one danger is using public computers, so precautions should be taken. Also, the password thing I kind of knew about, but a lot of it I didn't; and some I seem to instinctively know: I don't save my passwords to my browser and I always log out. Fortunately I got some good habits. Good stuff.