Protect your Online Identity | Create a Secure Facebook Password

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Not only do people have personal information on their Facebook accounts, but some people, including our children, use Facebook as a way to share things like photos with certain people that they wouldn't want to share with anyone else.

Facebook plays an important part in many people's lives, allowing them to stay in touch with old friends and share information with others that would otherwise be difficult to share.  That's part of the problem with Facebook, too; it plays such an important part in some people's lives that if someone else were to hack into their Facebook account it could cause serious problems.

There have been several stories in the news about individuals who have shared nude or otherwise compromising pictures with their significant others, then had the pictures leaked onto the Internet and placed on porn sites, after someone hacked their Facebook accounts.  Once leaked, it's usually next to impossible to get these pictures off of the Internet.  What started out as something private and intimate can become a nightmare of negative repercussions.  To make matters worse, the people who leak pictures like this often do it for no other reason than to have fun at someone else's expense.

Unfortunately, the scam used to gain access to people's accounts is becoming increasingly common.  Scammers send friend invites to potential victims, and if the invitation is accepted they start learning everything they can about their victim.  Once they know a decent amount of personal information and have learned their victim's email address, the scammer attempts to log in to Facebook using the victim's ID.  If the scammer can't guess the password outright then he'll use Facebook's password recovery form and information he's learned from the victim's Facebook profile to answer security questions and gain access to the account. It's important NOT to post personal info online that could help crack answers to common security questions.

Think about this: Even if you don't have pictures or sensitive messages in your Facebook account, if someone gains access to it then they can direct the people on your friend list to virus-laden links or damage your reputation by posting harmful or distasteful things on websites using Facebook Connect.  Given how many sites are linked through Facebook, if someone hacks into your Facebook account they could practically steal your entire digital identity.

Protecting your Facebook account is obviously important, and the best way to do that is to create a strong password;

  • Make a strong password by choosing a long string of characters that don't hold a special meaning.  Avoid the temptation to use a pet's name or other common word that has meaning to you.  You can also try to make a short phrase of two or more words, as the spaces in the password phrase will foil most attempts to guess the password or hack it using computer software.  If you have trouble remembering your new password you can write it down, but don't put it anywhere that's obvious and don't label it as the password for your Facebook account.

  • To keep people from bypassing your password, set your security questions so the answers are things that only you know and don't share that information on Facebook at all.

  • Don't accept random friend requests from people you don't know, and double-check your Facebook security to make sure that nobody can get into your account.

  • Limit the information you put on your profile, or place incorrect bits of information in the profile fields to foil would-be hackers. See an earlier blog for more tips on password security.

This month kicks off National Cyber Security Awareness Month
To learn more about internet safety and find resources for businesses and individuals of all ages, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance at

Knowledge is one of our greatest safeguards against fraud. Take the time to familiarize yourself with a few of the latest techniques criminals engage in today.

Being aware of internet security risks when signing into online accounts via an unsecured network,  staying up-to-date on the latest scams, and being aware of today's more intrusive identity theft trends, can help to reduce internet security risks.

Before web-surfing, remember: Stop. Think. Connect.

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