Knowing how to spot the clues can help you secure your online presence
By Jennifer Hughes
The sort of spam e-mail that is out to get your social insurance or bank account number is usually marked by telltale features, such as vague subject lines and unfamiliar links, that make it relatively easy to spot, but it’s a lot harder to tell if your social media accounts have been compromised. Fortunately, social media services have features that can give you a sense of control and alert you if someone else logs into your account.
Facebook, for example, has a Security and Login page (click Settings and then the “Security and Login” link) that allows you to see where and when you (or someone else) logged in. If you notice a login date or device that seems suspicious, you can hover over it with your mouse to see its IP address.
If you think that someone has hacked into your Facebook account, you should change your password immediately. Doing so will force the hacker to log out and protect you in the future.
Facebook also offers other ways to stay in control of your account.
If you enable Two-Factor Authentication, Facebook will ask you for a security code (in addition to your password) if you ever login from a different device. You can also manage Authorized Logins, which allows you to review devices that don’t need a login code, and App Passwords, which allows you to enable special passwords so you can log in to various apps using passwords different from your Facebook password. Under Setting Up Extra Security, you can also choose to Get Alerts About Unrecognized Logins, which will send you a notification whenever you (or someone else) logs into your account from an unfamiliar device.
If you believe that any of your social media accounts have been compromised, you can also talk with a professional, such as an IT specialist at a local computer store. If someone has actually managed to hack into your computer—and not just into one of your accounts—you should contact a specialist as soon as possible.