By B.L. Ochman
Yesterday, an email from my buddy, Toby Bloomberg, founder of All the Single Girlfriends, alerted me to the fact that my Facebook page had been hacked. As it turns out, I’m one of more than 45,000 Facebook users whose Facebook accounts – and most likely also email accounts – have been hacked.
I’m still cleaning up the mess. Facebook certainly hasn’t helped.
Has Facebook acknowledged the problem? Have they apologized? Have they offered a fix? No way!
Because, as usual, Facebook really could care less about its users’ privacy.
How it happened.
Here’s what happened and what you need to do to prevent your Facebook account from being hacked.
1- I clicked on a video posted in a trusted friend’s page. He’d been hacked too, but didn’t know it, until I email him with the bad news.
2- That apparently let loose the Trojan Ramnit, which has existed in one form or another since at least April 2010, has now “gone social” and is using Facebook to spread.
3- I immediately changed my Facebook password.
4- Firefox also was compromised because every link I opened re-routed to a blank page, or to Facebook.
5- I uninstalled Firefox, downloaded it and re-installed it. The same thing kept happening.
6- I went to my Facebook security settings and discovered that half a dozen apps, including Zynga’s Cityville, had installed themselves in my account and sent me welcome emails.
7- I deleted all the apps, changed my Facebook password again, added my cellphone and another level of security.
8- New apps proliferated.
9- I dug down many layers in Facebook to find the page where you can tell them your account has been hacked. It suggested that you change not only your Facebook password, but also the password of the email you use to log into Facebook.
When any other site gets hacked, and many do, they have the common decency to send out an email to let you know that you should change your password and they tell you what they’ve done to fix the problem and prevent it from happening again.
How to find Facebook’s security information
Security information is on Facebook, buried about six levels deep. Of Facebook’s billion members, 5 million liked the Security Center page, which I guarantee you won’t find in a casual search. Likegate Hint: you have to Like the page to see the information it contains! (Scroll down for how to keep your account safe.)
A Facebook rep told ZD Net that the information that was stolen was from out of date accounts. Wrong!
And Facebook claimed that most of the hacks happened in Europe. Thousands happened in the US yesterday – including my account.
How to keep your account safe.
So what should you do to keep your Facebook account safe? Besides deleting the whole damn thing? Here are the steps to take:
1- Change your Facebook password. Make it strong. Include numbers and letters. Don’t use the same password you use in other accounts or in email.
2- Go into your account settings and delete any apps that have installed themselves. Review permissions you have given to apps to be sure you still want them to access your account.
3- Log out of Facebook.
4- Change the password in the email account you use to log in to Facebook.
5- Delete your browser and re-download it.
6- Log back in to Facebook. Keep monitoring your account.
7- Log out of Facebook EVERY time you leave it. There simply is no reason to leave it open, because that apparently leaves you more open to being hacked.
8- Turn on https:// browsing in your Facebook settings
9- Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know/haven’t met.
10- Don’t click on suspicious links. You’re really not going to win an iPad for clicking on a link.
Consider switching to Google+
At least Google lets you know when they screw up and tells you how to fix it.
Here’s more bad news:
• More than four million Facebook users experience spam daily.
• More than 20% of Facebook newsfeed links currently open viruses
• 600,000 Facebook logins are compromised daily – that’s 7 every second.
Source: Zone Alarm