When we talk about your Facebook account being hacked, we mean your individual account has been hacked, not accessed as part of a larger data breach. That means someone has gotten into your account somehow, often by stealing your Facebook password or your email password. Once someone has access to your account, they can view all of your information and even lock you out of your own account. Here's how to tell if your account has been compromised.
Find out if your Facebook account has been hacked
There are lots of signs that your account may be compromised. Here are red flags to watch for:
- You get an email with instructions on how to reset your Facebook password when you didn't try to reset your password
- You get an email saying someone logged into your account when you haven't logged into your account
- Seeing posts you didn't make, messages you didn't write, friend requests you didn't send or profile changes you didn't make
But even if you haven't seen one of these warning signs, you can check who's logged on to your account by accessing your Facebook privacy settings page and by following these steps:
- Click the arrow up the upper-right of your Facebook page
- Select Settings from the menu
- Click Security and Login in on the left-hand side of your screen
The "Where You're Logged In" section of the page will list every device you've logged on to Facebook with, as well as their locations. If you see a device or location you don't recognize, it's a good sign someone else has access to your account. You can kick them out immediately by clicking Not You? In the drop-down menu to the right of the login information.
Secure your Facebook account from hackers
While logging a potential hacker out of your account throws them offline immediately, they may be able to log right back in. To keep them out, you need to take a few more steps to secure your account.
If you aren't already there, start by going to your Security and Login settings by clicking Settings then Security and Login from the Facebook menu. Start by taking these steps:
1. Change your password
Click Edit next to "Change password," then enter a new, unique password. Having a password you don't use on any other site will ensure that no one can get into your Facebook account if your password was stolen from another site.
2. Turn on two-factor authentication
Click Edit next to "Use two-factor authentication," then select the type of authentication you'd like to use. Two-factor authentication will send you a security code by text message or two an authentication app when you log on. You'll have to enter this code as well as your password to log on. This means even if a hacker gets your password, they can't get into your account.
3. Set up alerts for unrecognized logins
Click Edit next to "Get alerts about unrecognized logins," then select whether you'd like to be notified by email, Facebook message, Facebook notification or all three. This way you'll get an email if anyone logs into your account other than you.
Once you've done that, it's a good time to review the security on your email account — because if a hacker has access to your the mailbox associated with your Facebook account, they may be able to get back in. We recommend changing your email password and setting up two-factor authentication if possible.
With these changes, any hackers should be out of your Facebook account — and you've made it harder for them to get back in. And while you're at it, take the time to review our suggestions on how to manage your Facebook Privacy settings.
Recover your Facebook account from hackers
If a hacker has access to your Facebook account, you can run into a snag: they may have changed the password so you can't access it. If you're trying to log on to Facebook and find your password doesn't work, you should see a "Forgot Password?" option. Facebook will be able to send an email to the address associated with your Facebook account (or other options if they're available to you). From there, follow Facebook's instructions.
If you no longer have access to that email account, there are a few more hurdles to jump through. Click "No longer have access to these?" and enter a valid email address for Facebook to contact you on. They'll verify your identity and give you instructions on how to recover your account from there.
Once you have your account back, you should follow the instructions above to add extra security to protect yourself from hackers in the future. Or if you're fed up, here's how to delete your Facebook account permanently.
[Image credit: social media account hacking concept via BigStockPhoto]