Hack-Proof Your Data After the Facebook Breach
The Facebook hack announced on Friday compromised the data of 30 million users (initial reports said 50 million), making it the largest security breach in the company’s 14-year history. To make matters worse, the hacker(s) behind the breach remain unknown.
Hopefully by now you’ve taken steps to secure your Facebook account. But Facebook isn’t the only target for hacking. It’s important to stay alert and protect your data everywhere online.
If you remember nothing else, follow these three best practices, starting now:
- Change your passwords regularly: Every 60 days is a good rule of thumb, and use a different one for each of your online accounts. A password manager, like LastPass or Dashlane, can keep track of them for you.
- Keep your apps and operating systems up to date. Software companies release updates and security patches to protect your device and your accounts against attack. Turn on the auto-update feature for software and plugins to make sure you don’t miss any.
- Be wary of public Wi-Fi. Private networks and mobile data are always a safer bet, but if you have to hop on a public connection, don’t access sensitive information, like online banking, digital wallets, or payment apps.
Use a VPN
If you’re serious about beefing up security, try using a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs create a private connection between your device and the VPN’s server, so your data can’t be easily intercepted or tracked. Many VPNs (like NordVPN and ExpressVPN) are as simple as downloading an app and tapping “Connect.” For a quicker (but less robust) fix, turn on your browser’s privacy mode. This feature keeps sites from tracking and storing your activity as you browse the internet.
Set up two-factor authentication
Another good practice is to use two-factor authentication whenever you have the option. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a temporary code from your phone when you sign in from a new device.
Keep your accounts separate
Many websites, apps, and social platforms make it easy to use Facebook or Google to sign in, instead of creating a separate account. Resist the urge. Disconnect any apps or websites that are linked together. Linking sites together via single sign-on can be risky. A hacker only needs to access one account to hack them all.
And one last thing: remember to sign out of any and every account you sign in to. It’s a no-brainer, but last week’s hack is a sobering reminder that you can never be too careful.