Facebook, as you well know, is the largest social network in the world. Hackers have been targeting Facebook for years. They can get several things done by hacking a Facebook user account: free advertisement of illegal products, building a list of email addresses of potential customers, attacking individuals through spyware and malware, etc. In this article, you will find the steps you need to take if your account is hacked.
Diagnose Your Facebook Account
One way to find if your account has been hacked is obvious: you can see unknown people in your friends list; your account emails spam to your friends; your account promotes things like Viagra, weapons, or narcotics; or you no longer have access to the account. On the other hand, if the attacker does nothing noteworthy, then it is very difficult to know if your account is compromised or not. In such cases, the attacker may be waiting silently, looking for important information—personal and financial information of you and your friends. This is a more difficult scenario as most of the people may not even realize that their account has been hijacked and may take no security measures.
In order to verify if your account has been hacked, you can follow this procedure. Go to ‘Facebook Account Settings’ at the top right of the screen. Go to ‘Security’ and then ‘Active Sessions’. You will see the recent account activity on this page. If there is any other session that is active, you will be able to log out that. If there is any unusual activity from any unknown location, then you should know that your account is not safe.
How to Recover a Hacked Account
If your Facebook password has not been changed, then you are in control and you can get the account back very quickly. You should first make sure that your computer does not contain any spyware or key loggers. After that, change your Facebook password and other security information such as your secret questions and answers.
If your account is involved in spamming, submit a request through the ‘Facebook Hacked’ page. Unless you report it, Facebook may limit or close your account.
If you have no access to your account due to a change in password, go to the
‘Forgot password’ option. Here, provide the details necessary to regain access. If you are using the email registered with the account, you can reset the password faster. You can also gain access by giving your name and the name of a friend.
If you cannot access the email address or the phone number associated with the account, you can get the account back with your current email address. In this process, three of your trusted Facebook friends need to get involved. They will receive security codes from Facebook that you can use to gain access to your account.
You are probably using a number of apps on Facebook. Among them, there may be several insecure ones. Access your app list through Account Settings page. Remove any app that you do not use. Whenever you install a new app, it requires certain information from your account. Verify what information the app requires for it to function, and this information will help you filter your apps. Do not install any app that asks for any information that it does not need.
Under Settings->Apps page, you can also find the history of each app that you have used. You can see the data the app has been accessing from your account page.
A Few Security Tips
• If you doubt that your account has been hacked, change your password.
• Scan your computer fully with a trusted antivirus before changing your password.
• Do not use the same password for other web services.
• Change your password every month or so.
• Check your user sessions and log out of other active sessions.
• Use Login Notifications (this will send you an SMS when your account is accessed from an unknown computer).
• Do not install apps that you find suspicious.
• Do not log into your account from unknown computers.
Facebook has the highest number of users today, and it is the most visited website in the world. People continuously make connections and share information through this platform. You may have several important data including your personal financial data on your account. Securing your account also ensures the security of your friends as the information you share goes to them by default.