Social media has helped to connect billions of people globally, and much easier than before. But to set up a Facebook or Twitter account, you must relinquish a portion of your personal information.
Your email address, telephone number, age or even neighborhood all may be required for the service to work as intended. But there are underlying risks that not everyone is aware of or actively chooses to ignore. Tap or click here for one Facebook security setting you must change.
What happens when your social media platform is breached? What can you do to safeguard your information? As 533 million Facebook users found out this week, the first step is to see if your own data has been exposed.
Here’s the backstory
Security company Hudson Rock revealed that over 530 million Facebook account details were dumped onto the internet. Exposed user data includes phone numbers, email addresses, full names, places of work, cities victims live in and birth dates. This type of data can be used for a number of nefarious things, including identity theft.
The breach occurred last year through an exploit in the social media platform. Hackers managed to find a way to see the phone number linked to every Facebook account. The hack was then expanded to include more details.
The data has since been merged into several downloadable packages. Worryingly, a Telegram bot has been set up where people can search for a user’s number and pay a small fee to access the data.
Were you part of the breach?
Over 32 million U.S. phone numbers were exposed in this breach. There is an easy way to find out if yours is one of them. A website called The News Each Day created a tool that lets you search your phone number and it will tell you if it’s been exposed. Visit the tool here and enter your phone number to see if it’s part of the breach.
Data breaches like this one happen all the time, and we can’t stress enough that your password or login credentials to any service or app need to be changed frequently. It’s suggested that you change your passwords at least once every two months.
Facebook said it patched the issue behind this breach, but unless you have changed your linked telephone number, password or email address, your data is still available. The information stolen might be two years old, but when was the last time you changed your password?
If someone gets their hands on your information, they can use it in conjunction with other scams. Criminals can take your data and create fake profiles or send malicious messages to friends and family.
Here are some safety tips to follow:
- Change your password often – Updating your accounts frequently with strong credentials is critical in keeping cybercriminals away. Tap or click here to find out how to create stronger passwords.
- Use two-factor authentication (2FA) – It’s always smart to enable 2FA if the service offers it. It adds a layer of security and is a great deterrent to hackers. Tap or click here to protect your social media accounts with 2FA.
- Don’t overshare information – You don’t have to add your phone number to your Facebook account, so don’t do it. Tap or click here to see common social media privacy mistakes.
- Report anything strange – Be vigilant in checking for suspicious or strange activity on your social media accounts. If you see anything that seems off, change your credentials and report it to the site.
- Keep an eye out for data breaches – Use online resources like HaveIbeenpwned to check if your data has been exposed breached. Tap or click here to find out how to use the tool.