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21Oct/120

How to secure your facebook account

Something I never hear people ask me:

"Av, how do I secure my Facebook account?"

Which leads me to believe one of two things:

  1. Everyone knows how to secure their Facebook account
  2. People like myself have done a very poor job or explaining to you why you need to secure your Facebook account, and how to do it

Obviously I feel it's the latter, and now I intend to correct it. Here are some very simple reasons for why you need to take 10 minutes to secure your Facebook account and how to do it.

Why you should do it

There are two big reasons why you should continue reading this post.

First of all, you know those fun games you like to play?
And those surveys you filled out a while ago about food you like to eat?
Or perhaps that list of countries around the world you've visited?

Every time you did that, you authorised someone (often we don't know who!) to some or all of the following:

  1. Post to your wall
  2. Post things your friends will see
  3. Know who your friends are
  4. Read your status updates, and know everything you say

For some things, this isn't a big deal. For example, you WANT the FourSquare app to post to your wall.

But do you really want the Crap I Like To Eat survey posting things on your wall 6 months after you forgot about it? Probably not.

Secondly, you've either had someone hack into your Facebook account, or you know someone it has happened to (even if they don't admit it). Perhaps you've had someone message you with a scam message on Facebook? It's surprising common, and doing things to help prevent it is really easy too.

How to prevent problems

This is really easy, takes about 10 minutes at the most, and there are only two steps!

De-authorize those apps!

Go here: https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications and click the "X" next to every app you don't use any more. Now those apps can't see your Facebook data!

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication means that when someone tries to log in to your Facebook account, Facebook will a text message to your phone with a code. That code needs to be entered on the website before someone can log in.

If this sounds complicated, I promise it's not.
Facebook remembers which computers you use, and only needs you to enter this code when you use a new computer (or if you "log out" on your existing computer). This means that for most people you will only need to get a text from Facebook once in a blue moon. But it also means that no-one can log in to your account, without you knowing. Here's what you do:

Go to your Facebook security page and click Edit next to Login Notifications. Check either email, text message, or both - however you want to be told someone logged into your account. I use both just in case. Then click Save changes.

Next click Edit next to Login approvals and walk through the steps to set up the approval process I described above. If you have a smartphone (like an iPhone or Android), you can optionally install an app to make those codes for you, so Facebook doesn't have to send you a text. This is completely optional, and up to you if you want it.

That's it!

Pretty painless overall! There are other things you can do on that security page, like see all the places you're logged in to Facebook from right now. You may see your home computer, your work computer (naughty, naughty!), your phone, and maybe even something that shouldn't be there! Facebook has made it really easy to take care of your account on that one page!

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