The recent hack of an estimated 90 million Facebook accounts signals a range of potential dangers that account holders need to be aware of.

Facebook has been typically unforthcoming other than admit that there was a hack. It hasn’t offered much clarity around the breach or the risk users may face.

With this in mind, here are few pointers that could provide useful:
  • Facebook accounts contain personal information which can be useful for hackers. 
  • This includes names, home towns and gender, all of which is useful for identity thieves. 
  • It can be used to access other online accounts use personal information for security questions 
  • Although Facebook is uncertain as to what data was accessed if email addresses have been plundered the victims could start receiving phishing mails. 
  • Taking advantage of the hack, the mails could also claim to be from Facebook.

How do you know if you were hacked?

  • There is currently no way to know for sure if your account has been hacked, unless you’ve received a message from Facebook or you were logged out of your account last Friday. 
  • That said Facebook’s ‘Security and login’ page in your profile’s account settings has a feature which tells you where your account has been logged in from. If you see a login from a location you do not recognise, this may be a sign you have been hacked.

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Is the attack dangerous?

Facebook has sought to reassure users that the security breach has been fixed and said users are not currently in danger of being hacked.
  • However, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal it’s fair to say Facebook’s credibility has been undermined and there will be many taking what it says with a hefty pinch of salt. 
  • What we do know is that breach is the largest in the company’s history. 
  • What we don’t know is how deep the hackers went; did they take full control of accounts? 
  • What we also know is that hackers could have accessed third-party websites which use Facebook accounts for logins. This includes apps such as Instagram, Tinder, Spotify and Airbnb all of which use Facebook’s ‘single sign-on’ feature.

What should I do if I was hacked?

Given that those who were hacked were automatically logged out of their accounts you can assume you’re safe if this didn’t happen to your account. 

That said there are several advisable steps that can be taken to improve your overall account security: 
  • Change your password, especially if it is used for multiple accounts. 
  • If you use the same password for different social media accounts and websites, change them to individual, complex ones rather than common, easy-to-guess names or phrases. 
  • Facebook also offers two-factor authentication which requires a unique verification code as well as your password to access your account. This code will be sent either by text or via a registered authentication app, such as Google Authenticator or Duo Mobile that you would need to download.
  • You will need to go to the ‘Security and login’ page in your Facebook account settings to set up two-factor authentication.