- What might hackers do with your information?
- How can you check if your data was leaked?
- What can you do if your data has been compromised and how to further protect yourself on social media?
WhatsApp and Instagram parent company Facebook recently had a data breach where the personal information of over 500 million Facebook users including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was taken from its data servers and posted on a website used by hackers. The information includes users include full name, location, birthday, email addresses, phone number, relationship status, and bio.
According to Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone, the data that was leaked is from 2019 and the company addressed the flaw in its technology that allowed the information to leak out back in august of the same year.
Despite being from 2019, the information leaked could still be of value to hackers and cybercriminals like those who engage in identify theft and commit fraud or any other cybercrime. You may be one of the users whose data was leaked and may be used to commit fraud, a crime which you will be accounted for without even knowing. Hence you must know how to check if your data was leaked and how you can further protect yourself and your accounts.
Apart from fraud, the leaked information can also be exploited by advertisers for targeted advertisements and by hackers to perform hacking attempts or social engineering attacks
HOW TO CHECK IF YOUR DATA HAS BEEN COMPROMISED
One well-known site that is being recommended to track data breaches is HaveIBeenPwned.com (created by Troy Hunt). Through this site, you will find out not only if you’ve been part of the Facebook breach, but also any other breaches in which your data may have been compromised. It only needs your email address, which cross-references with accounts that have been breached in the past to find if your details were leaked online.
What can you do if your data has been compromised and how to further protect yourself on social media?
If you find out that your data has been compromised, the first course of action for you is to change your password. Once a hacker has your email, they can try to login into your accounts by pairing your email with simple passwords which they can find on the leaked data or try the top 100 most common passwords. Simple and common passwords include date and year of birth, peers name, your names, phone numbers, pets name, and others. When changing your password or coming up with a password, it should be very strong, hard to guess and not relate to you anyhow. A strong password has 12charecters that include numbers, symbols, capital letters and lowercase letters.
You can alternatively use a password manager such as Googles password manager to create unique, long and difficult passwords for your accounts, and store them for you so you don’t have to remember them. Websites such as passwordgenerator.net and strongpasswordgenerator.com also generate strong passwords however, unlike googles password manager, you will have to write the password down or remember it. To make it easy to remember, you can simply go ahead and modify it in a way that you will easily remember.
Enable two-factor authentication for additional security where possible. The feature will send a code through a number that will have provided and you use it to verify your account every time you log in. You should also stay alert for news of any other breaches. You can also just stop using these social media platforms.
If there is something we have learnt from the Facebooks data breach it’s that social media platforms are not 100% safe with our information which is why you also need to take down all the identifying information (information that relates to you) you provide into all your social media accounts, for example, birth dates