As Facebook becomes the window to the Web for its more than 500 million users worldwide, the security of the social network has never been a hotter topic.
(In fact, your bank is even on Facebook! Check us out here!)
While it can be hard to make a Facebook account completely hack-proof, you
can do a lot. Here are 10 Facebook settings for you to check now.
1. Who can see
Your first stop should be your privacy
settings, which you can get to under "Account" at the top right of
Here, make sure you're using a set of
custom settings. Click "Customize settings" under the grid on that
page to see who can see which parts of your Facebook profile.
Unless you use your Facebook account as a
completely public page, every single one of these options should at least be
set to "Friends Only." From there, you can make each setting more
specific, keeping your photos hidden for certain people, for example.
2. Place your
friends in lists
To make the previous tip more powerful,
place your Facebook friends in lists. If you begin to
define lists such as Coworkers, Best Friends, Employees, Students, etc., you
can set each of your settings to be visible or not visible to a whole list of
To do this go to "Edit Friends"
under the Account menu. Type in a friends name and add them to a list.
Then make sure that only your best friends,
for example, can see the photos you post. Or make sure that your students or
employees don't see your status updates.
You also can add a friend to a list as you
accept their friend request.
3. How secure is
This is the front line to your Facebook
security and should be taken seriously. Good passwords include capital letters,
punctuation, numbers and words that can't be found in the dictionary.
Resist using anything that someone who
knows you well enough could guess (kids, pets, phone numbers, etc.).
If you think for any reason that your
account's security has been breached, change your password immediately. Doing
so will end every active session of Facebook for your account, locking anyone
else but you out.
4. Who can find
Facebook also allows you to set what people
see if they're not your friend. Under privacy settings, click "View
Settings" under the "Connecting on Facebook" setting at the top
of the page.
Here, you can set what people see when they
search for you on Facebook.
Pay special note the bottom option, which
allows you to set who can see what you have "liked" on Facebook. Many
don't realize that by default this option is set to show everyone on the Web
what you like.
Don't want that future employer to know
that you "like" naps or skipping class? This is a good thing to
5. What does my
profile look like to Grandpa?
Even the most conscientious Facebook user
can miss a check box or two, putting his or her entire weekend escapade on
Facebook for Grandpa to see.
But the good news is that you can preview
what your profile looks like to any of your friends, many of whom can see
different things depending on your advanced you have set your privacy settings.
In your privacy settings, click
"Customize Settings" then "Preview My Profile."
Here, you'll be able to type in any
friend's name and see exactly what they see. Very handy.
One of Facebook's most vulnerable features
is that much of your browsing is done without a secure connection to the Web
site. Hackers have exploited this hole by accessing your personal information
if you use Facebook on a public or unsecured WiFi network.
In your account settings, choose Account
Security. There's a check box there to enable secure browsing whenever
possible. Check that.
You'll soon see that Facebook will be using
https:// instead of http://. That's how you know you're more secure.
7. Who is logging
in as you?
One of Facebook's greatest security
features is the ability to individually approve each computer or mobile device that logs into your account.
You can name each computer you use Facebook
with (work, home, laptop, iPhone, etc.).
To turn this on, go to your account
settings, click on "Account Security" and choose that you want an
e-mail or text message when someone tries to log in from a computer that isn't
one you've approved.
Here, you can also see all the open
sessions of Facebook tied to your account. Someone logging in from five states
away? Click "end activity" and they'll be stopped in their tracks.
8. Which apps
As we have used Facebook over the years,
each of us has amassed list of applications that have access to our Facebook
To see which apps now have access to our Facebook
information, go to your privacy settings and click edit under "Apps and
Websites" at the bottom left of the page.
On the next page, click edit settings next
to "Apps you use."
Here, you'll see a list of all the apps
that have your information on file. Many of them are used for convenience, such
as integration with the popular Instagram photo-sharing app or commenting services on news Web
sites. But there are certainly some you could lose.
Click the X next to any app you want to
yank your information from.
9. Even your
friends' apps know you, too
This one is even scarier. On the same app
privacy page, check out the subhead that says "Info accessible through
You may not know it, but anything your
friends can see on Facebook can also be seen by any app that your friends add
on Facebook -- including apps that you have no idea were ever given access.
To disallow this, click on edit settings
and uncheck all the boxes that allow you to choose what about you can be shared
with apps that your friends add. Click save.
10. Who can post
on your wall?
Facebook security has become a veritable
cesspool of spam.
Many of these spammy links are clickjacking
schemes, which spread by posting links on a bunch of your friends' walls.
The only fool-proof way to prevent these
links from gumming up your own wall is to set it so that no one can post
directly on your wall. Friends still can comment on your status messages, links
and photos, but won't have the ability to leave you a public note.
To change this setting, head to the
customize settings area under privacy. Then uncheck the "Enable" box
where it allows friends to post on your wall.
Courtesy of the The Associated Press -- 8:26 PM, May. 17, 2011