Facebook is back in the headlines over an alleged large-scale exposure of personal data found in a hacking forum site.
In an article that appeared last weekend, a certain Alon Gal discovered that the accounts of around 535 million Facebook users were posted in a hacking forum and made accessible. The author claimed that a vulnerability enabled phone numbers linked to every Facebook account to be exploited.
After that, another post listed the affected countries and total users for each country. According to the post, 879,699 Facebook users from the Philippines were affected.
The NPC considers this allegation large scale. And we have reached out to Facebook’s DPO (data protection officer) to require more information about the matter.
I am halting my comments for now as our inquiry is underway. But I want our dear readers to be reminded again of the basics of keeping your data secure to keep your social media activities safe.
How do we protect our data? The first line of defense is you.
Passwords are your most excellent shield. Create a strong one. Having at least 12 characters and a combination of alphanumeric and symbols provides sufficient strength if it is not easy to guess.
Using single words, birthdays, names, or any predictable words as your password provide easy access to anyone who tries to hack your accounts. And most importantly, use different lock codes for your accounts to prevent exposure to your data.
Do not share too much. Facebook has been a handy tool, but despite the usefulness and interconnectivity of the platform, we need to always think twice about what we share and who we share it with.
Stop supplying optional information such as education, work, contact information and birthdate. Everyone doesn’t need to know.
Cleaning your Facebook groups, friends list, photo and post tagging settings, and most especially, double-checking your profile privacy settings from time to time is the way to go in securing your account.
Put up higher walls in your account by activating your two-factor authentication (2FA). Multiple authentications send a notification alert should anyone try to open your account without your authorization.
Your social media accounts are not the only repository of our data. All our logins in the World Wide Web are susceptible to the dangers of theft and hacking.
Spam e-mails, ad blockers, anti-virus programs, unwanted newsletters and browser extensions should always be cleaned and updated. These are just some of our added protection to lessen our digital footprint. With all the online activities that we do these days, being cautious and attentive to malicious clicks is important.
If we see a friend or a family member who we think posted something risky, call them out for oversharing. Remind them that addresses, phone numbers, complete names and all the little things can endanger them when mishandled.
If you find this helpful, sharing these tips with your loved ones is the next step. Learn to love yourself online by practicing basic online hygiene. You may read more through https://www.privacy.gov.ph/30-ways/ for more information.