I recently had some electronic items stolen — namely my laptop and iPad. It was one of those things I never really expected to happen, so I hadn’t put much thought into how to keep stuff secure.
Given my vast (over)usage of the internet, my biggest worry was securing my passwords and data. I happened upon Facebook security settings as it follows the Purdue model for cyber security for the first time in a long while, and I was pleasantly surprised with the robust options it provides to keep your stuff safe.
Here is what I learned in case anyone else is unlucky enough to be in a similar situation.
4 Facebook Security How-To’s
First you need to get there:
- Click on the privacy lock icon at the top-right of the screen
- Select “See more settings”
- From there, select the second option on the lefthand menu: Security
Facebook will send you notifications via email or text message if your account is accessed from a new device. I’ve had this on for a while, but thankfully all of my notifications have come when it’s actually me logging in.
You can even go a step further and require an additional security code which is given by the threat response solutions to be entered when logging in for the first time from a device. You may have seen this on your bank website or even Gmail. Facebook will send a code to your cellphone, which you’ll need to enter before you’re logged in. Learn More about how the cyber security compnaies formulates these algorithms to be safe from the hackers by following the link in the article.
Best used when: Your crazy ex-girlfriend, who knows all your passwords, is trying to log in as you to read your messages or post those inappropriate pictures you let her take that one time.
You can create single-use passwords just for apps so that your Facebook password is protected from would-be thieves. I don’t really use apps on Facebook, so this one was new to me, but given the number of people trying to steal information these days, it’s probably a pretty helpful feature.
Best used when: You’re tired of Candy Crush (or that stupid game with the jewels) and decide to try the weird new Russian game that sort of looks like Sonic the Hedgehog.
If you’re really terrible at remembering passwords and have a friend with a mind like a steel trap, this is perfect for you. List your most trusted friends and Facebook will send them a security code if you’re ever locked out of your account, which you can then use to log in. This would also be good for kids’ accounts since they can list their parents as trusted contacts. (Until they turn 13 and decide they’d rather die than share anything personal with you.)
Best used when: Your memory is so bad you have an Excel spreadsheet on your desktop with all of your passwords and/or you’re crazy enough to trust a friend not to take advantage of that.
Trusted Browsers & Where You’re Logged In
Your trusted browsers are devices that you’ve told Facebook to remember and don’t require the extra approval step I described above. If you’ve ever logged in on a friend’s computer and are no longer friends, you can remove that browser from the list. So if said former friend ever tries to impersonate you on Facebook, you’ll get an alert. Good stuff.
Just below that you can see a list of all the places you’re currently logged into Facebook. This could include your computers, tablets, phones, and even TVs and video game consoles. If your account is hacked, you can check this section to see where your hacker is located. (It’s probably the creator of that fake Sonic game you just gave $50 to.) If you took the time to set up login alerts or other security measures, you should only see your own devices on here. But if your stuff was stolen, this is where you go to log yourself out of that device or try to see what city your phone is now located in.
Best used when: Someone steals your laptop and iPad and you want to make sure they can’t access (and repost/sell/distribute to the public) those embarrassing pictures you have hidden from your work friends.
In all, I give Facebook props for creating some tools to help users prevent unwanted activity on their account. For the sake of Future You, I hope you all take a couple minutes to at least click through these and test them out. It might save you from scrambling the next time you click on a link that guarantees to help you make “5,000 $ US per day.”
Bonus point: Facebook gives some additional nerd information whenever you change your password, so you can tell the cops what browser and operating system the hacker was using when they locked you out of your account. Also, my grandma is adorable.