How to Check if Your Facebook Was Hacked, Recover a Stolen Page, and Protect Your Account
Facebook boasts almost 2.5 billion active users and some 25 billion monthly visits. This is an impressive indicator of this social media’s popularity, but it’s also what makes it a popular target for hacking attacks. If you’re following the news, you’re probably aware of the most notable Facebook hacks. But a lot of smaller breaches that only affect a small bunch of users fly under the radar of the general public. So most netizens are not even aware of the risk until it’s too late and their Facebook page got hacked.
- Was your Facebook compromised?
- How to report a hacked Facebook account?
- How to tend to the fallout of a Facebook account hack
- How to secure your Facebook account from future hacking problems?
Was your Facebook compromised?
There are a few ways to check if your Facebook account is stolen:
- Your personal information has changed, e.g. your name or birthday
- Your credentials have changed, e.g. your email or password
- People you don’t know have received friend requests from you
- People who are already your friends have received friend requests from you
- Posts and comments that you didn’t write are published from your account
- Messages that you didn’t write are sent from your account to your friends
Any of these are highly suspicious signs that your Facebook account might have been compromised. Never ignore them! Make sure you thoroughly investigate the suspicious activity and take necessary steps to fix Facebook hack. Further in this piece we’ll cover more information about this and how to recover a hacked Facebook account.
But before we proceed to the specifics, here’s the “unhack Facebook account 101” for you – change your Facebook password immediately. If you are still able to do this, then the hackers have done a poor job, and you’ll fix your Facebook hacking problems altogether this way. However, if the cybercriminals responsible for this hack are more competent, you may not be able to access your Facebook account. If that’s the case, follow the steps below.
How was my Facebook compromised?
There are many ways hackers can steal your Facebook account. The most common one (other than a person using a painfully obvious password, of course) is via free public WiFi hotspots. Considering how poorly secured they usually are, it takes hackers little to no effort to steal your Facebook account and credentials while you’re sipping latte at a coffee shop. That’s why it’s so important to know how to stay secure on public WiFi.
Other reasons your Facebook password can end up in the hackers’ hands include:
- Technical (e.g. man-in-the-middle attacks)
- Human error (e.g. you leaving your account logged in at a public PC)
- Aftermath of a different crime (e.g. accessing your account from a stolen device)
However the criminals hacked your Facebook account, it’s in your best interest to quickly take the necessary actions to limit the damage and protect you from future hacks.
How to report a hacked Facebook account?
If you can’t access your compromised Facebook account, this means hackers have changed its password. In this case, your only hope is to report to Facebook that your page got hacked, and to have them reset your password:
- Go to Facebook’s account hack report page (you can also access it by clicking My Account Is Compromised at Facebook login screen)
- From the list of suggested options, choose the one that leads you to believe your Facebook page got hacked
- Depending on the option you’ve chosen, Facebook will suggest you what steps to take next to recover your page
- Follow Facebook’s instructions to unhacking your account
How to tend to the fallout of a Facebook account hack
Alert people from your friends list
Informing your friends and acquaintances in an important and conscientious step to take after you report a hacked Facebook account. Even once you’ve regained control over your page, your friends may have already received messages with malicious links from it or in other ways were reached by the hackers. Warn them to ignore such messages and not to click links that they received while your Facebook account was hacked.
Check your account for any unknown apps
Once you’ve recovered a hacked Facebook page, much to your surprise, you might find out that some apps you don’t recognize were installed to your account. These are likely to be malicious apps installed by hackers in pursuit of their goals. Mercilessly search and destroy them!
- Go to the Facebook menu (click the arrow in the top right corner)
- Open Settings
- Choose Apps and Websites
- Look through the your apps list, select those you’d like to remove, and click Remove
- Confirm the removal. This way you also can delete any photo, video, or post that the apps posted on your page.
You might also check the level of access that your apps have, and what kind of information is shared with them. To do this, select an app and click View and edit.
The Apps and Websites page also features such handy information as removed and expired apps. Such applications may still hold your personal data that you once shared with them, and thus can be a threat to your privacy and Facebook account security. Click on them to learn how to request them delete your information.
How to secure your Facebook account from future hacking problems?
Now that you’ve seen first-hand that anybody that anybody (yes, even YOU) may get their Facebook account stolen, you may be wondering how to prevent this from happening. Below we will suggest a few easy steps to protect your Facebook account.
But first of all, you must understand that neither of the following steps are surefire. They will protect you from global Facebook hacks that are pretty cheap to commence, but not from more elaborated or targeted attacks; Facebook data breaches can also leave your personal data exposed despite all your account security efforts.
To prevent this, you need to secure the data itself. You want to have your internet traffic encrypted all the way from your device through Facebook servers, and to have your identifying information, such as IP, hidden from third parties. The easiest way to do this is by using a secure VPN such as VPN Unlimited. This will ensure that, even if your Facebook account was compromised, hackers won’t be able to unscramble your sensitive information.
And now, to Facebook hack prevention methods:
Enabling this feature will mean that anytime someone tries to log in to your Facebook account, they will have to complete an additional form of authentication, besides your password. This can include: entering a code sent to your mobile phone or generated by an authentication app, or inserting a smart key into your USB drive. Thus, even if someone steals your password, they won’t be able to get access to your Facebook account.
You can activate two-factor authentication in Facebook via Settings => Security and Login => Use two-factor authentication => Select a method of two-factor authentication. Bear in mind, if you rely solely on text-message solutions, losing your phone or changing your phone number will cause you certain troubles regaining access to your Facebook account. That’s why using a separate authentication app is considered more convenient and reliable.
Facebook security checkup
Security checkup is a Facebook feature that can help you additionally secure your page. With it, you will:
- Log out of Facebook from unused browsers and apps
- Get alerts when someone tries logging into your account from an unrecognized computer or mobile device
- Learn how to protect your password
Regularly change your password
Using the same password for all services and not changing it for a long time is a terrible habit to develop. It undermines any other Facebook account security methods you might employ – hackers only need to hack one of the services you’re using to get access to the rest!
To reset your Facebook password, open Facebook menu => Settings => Security and Login => Change Password.