You log into your favourite social media site and notice a string of posts or messages definitely not posted by you. Or, you get a message that your account password has been changed, without your knowledge. This is when you finally realise that you have been hacked. What do you do?
This was me a week ago. I tried to login to my Facebook account but the password I have been using for four years was incorrect. It was perplexing. To make matters worse, the email address associated with my Facebook login, was no longer in use. I am sure you would say, “Just use your phone number to reset the password.” The phone number I had registered with Facebook was also no longer in use.
Panic Setting In Post-Hacked
At first, I was completely fine. No Facebook, no problem. I have other things to keep me company. For example, I could go for a walk or work on my painting skills. On the other hand, without Facebook, I won’t be able to login to Instagram, Airbnb, LinkedIn or anything else. Facebook started as a way to keep in touch with friends and for me personally, to stalk my ex-lovers. However, as time slowly passes, Facebook has become a method of identification to log into other social media and application.
So, it’s safe to say without Facebook, there really is little to nothing that I can do.
How Do You Know If Your Account Is Hacked?
There are some sure signs you might have missed. Try to check on these if you think you might be hacked:
- Your email or password is changed
- Your name or date of birth is changed.
- Friend request is sent to people whom you don’t know.
Facebook prompted that my password was incorrect. I realised something was wrong since I remember saving my password to a personal notepad in case I were to forget it.
What To Do After You’re Hacked?
This is where it really got interesting especially on my part. I didn’t have access to both the same email and phone number I had saved previously. Thankfully, I found a solution.
When I entered my current password that I was sure I hadn’t changed for a long time now, Facebook came back saying it was incorrect. However, I just assumed it was my own butterfingers that had caused an error in the spelling.
What If Don’t Have Access To The Same Email Or Phone Number?
I clicked on the reset password button which brought me to this page. My chest felt tighter as though I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t have access to either the email address or the phone number. I got more anxious as this is a problem. The link to reset my password can only be sent to one of the credentials. Upon further inspection, I couldn’t remember having this email address before. I wasn’t sure what to do at this point.
This page is where I finally exhaled a sigh of relief. Thankfully, Facebook gave me an option to change my email address. You just have to click on the “I cannot access my email account” button. This will bring you to one final page that will allow you to enter a different email address. Next, Facebook will request some form of verification of your identity via your National Identification Card, driver’s licence or your passport picture.
Finally Reunited With My Facebook Account!
Facebook’s Cyber Security Team will take about 24 hours to verify the identification document you sent to them. I got an email with a link to reset my Facebook password within a few hours.
How to Keep Your Social Accounts Secure?
- Don’t click on suspicious messages or links, even if they appear to be posted by someone you know.
- Check out Espoletta’s Hazel Ling’s post on Cyber Security to learn how and why these threats happen.
- Use complex passwords for all your accounts. Use a password generator to help you create strong passwords and a password manager can help store them.
- Always use comprehensive security software that can keep you protected from the latest threats.
- Keep up-to-date on malware threats and scams.
My Precautionary Steps
Luckily for me, I don’t crowd my laptop by downloading multiple software. I just need McAfee which doesn’t only protect my laptop from virus and malware threats but gives me access to a password manager that securely stores my password. After getting the 30-day free trial that McAfee offers to all newcomers, I could finally sleep peacefully knowing that both my laptop and social media are safe.
Why Protecting Your Social Media Accounts Is Important?
Preventing cyber attacks like this is important. Why? Because in this day and age, most people save everything in their social media. Pictures, important documents and even something as important as credit card information. Imagine waking up to your credit cards maxed out and your bank accounts emptied.
Hence, why McAfee even provides a free 30-day trial to everyone who are unsure if McAfee is the antivirus plan they want. Trust me, giving them a chance to impress you would be the best move you can take in this fight against cyber attacks.
This article is part of Espoletta’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives.