We’ve heard from four (!) folks whose Facebook accounts have been hacked. Big headache, took days to clean up the fallout.
Protect yourself with these tips and tools.
1. Check your FB privacy settings with this free tool.
2. Pick a secure password.
Use at least 8 characters, with numbers AND letters (ideally upper-case AND lower-case).
Do not use a plain-vanilla English “dictionary” word.
One easier-to-remember alternative: pick a real word, like “curtain” – then put a number in the middle. For example: “cur41tain”.
Or, use a phrase you can remember: “I Want To Retire To Canada At Age 40″ becomes the password iwtrtcaa40 (the first charactere of each word in the phrase).
Microsoft’s password checker is handy.
3. Fake your date of birth (no, the Facebook police will not know).
4. Picture captions.
Don’t put last names for anyone. Don’t put first OR last names of kids. Make sure photos of kids don’t have visible name tags, school names, identifying team shirts, and so on.
5. Don’t discuss your plans to go on vacation or be out of town until AFTER you get back.
6. Don’t put detailed identifying or location info – phone number, zip, street address, etc.
7. Use a separate email account (a free Gmail account, for example) just for your Facebook account.
That way your mail email address isn’t compromised if you do get hacked.
8. Keep strangers from reading your personal page by selecting “Only Friends” for Facebook search results on the Search section of the privacy controls.
9. Take the time to dig through the Facebook privacy settings – recently simplified – and explicitly choose what you do and don’t want to share.
Facebook’s general philosophy is that more sharing is better (although they’re starting to back off this under public pressure). The site’s default is to share almost everything. So it’s up to you to watch your back.