Having been around for several years as one of the most used and popular social media platforms, Facebook is a prime target for hackers looking to gain unauthorised access to people's accounts for nefarious purposes.

Due to the privacy and personal safety issues that arise during Facebook account breaches, we're going to take a deep dive into how hackers get access to a Facebook account, signs that your Facebook account has been infiltrated, and what to do to stay safe.

Just remember that if you need support or someone to talk to, our Sonder support team is available 24/7 to chat whenever you need it.


Ways 'hackers' get access to a Facebook account

The first step involves hackers getting hold of your Facebook account password and gaining access to said account. There are several ways they can do this, such as phishing, malware, brute forcing, or straight up guesswork. But it's what they do next that's worrying if you're a business owner or company who relies on Facebook.

A common technique used by hackers to gain control of someone's Facebook account or page involves uploading child exploitation images and content onto said account or page. This triggers an alert for Facebook, which sends a notification to the account's owner that they have violated the platform's "community standards" and have been banned.

Once the account's owner has been banned - and therefore no longer has access to it - hackers can then make themselves admins on the account and control everything.

Signs your Facebook account has been 'hacked'

There are a number of ways to check if someone has gotten unauthorised access into your Facebook account:

  • Check your Facebook activity log for devices you've logged into

    • Open Facebook on your smartphone (Android or iPhone) or desktop (Windows or Mac).

      • For smartphones: Settings & Privacy > Settings > Password and Security > Where you’re logged in

      • For desktop: Settings & Privacy > Activity Log

    • If you see any unrecognisable devices, then you have potentially been hacked. Click 'Secure Account' and follow the steps provided.

  • Check your payment history on Facebook if you've ever bought anything or have your card details in the system

    • Open Facebook on your smartphone (Android or iPhone) or desktop (Windows or Mac).

      • For smartphones: Settings & privacy > Settings > Payments. Select 'Facebook Pay' and check your payment activity for any fraudulent purchases.

      • For desktop: Settings & privacy > Settings > Facebook Pay. Under 'Activity', select 'See all' to check all the purchases listed under your account.

    • If there are purchases you don't recognise, then you have potentially been hacked. Click 'Secure Account' and follow the steps provided.

  • Other signs include:

    • Your name, birthday, address, and any other personal details on your Facebook page have been changed.

    • Random friend requests in your name sent out to Facebook users you don’t know.

    • Random messages sent out from your account that you don’t recognise.

    • New posts appearing on your timeline that you didn’t post.

    • Receiving an email from Facebook with a login alert you don’t recognise, or an email stating that you asked to change your password.

If you've experienced any of these scenarios, then you need to inform Facebook right away and take the appropriate steps to secure your account, such as changing your passwords, reporting your compromised account, checking for malicious apps, and alerting your contacts.

How to prevent unauthorised access and stay safe

The best and easiest way to stay safe when it comes to protecting yourself from hackers is to simply delete your Facebook account completely. If you decide to keep using your Facebook account, then make sure you take the appropriate precautions, such as:

  • Activating Facebook's security features, such as two-factor authentication, login and security alerts, and trusted friends to contact if you get locked out of your account.

  • Setting up a strong password using a password manager.

  • Adjust your privacy settings so you're less visible to outsiders.

  • Use a VPN when browsing the internet and using Facebook.

  • Stay vigilant when online and on social media platforms. This includes:

    • Double-checking every link or attachment.

    • Double-checking pages you follow and your friends list.

    • Being careful when communicating with people you don't know, and do not give out any personal information.

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If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: 9news, CNET, NordVPN, Tom's Guide, and We Live Security

Image credit: Stock Catalog at Flickr

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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