Yesterday, Colin Powell’s Facebook account was hacked into. The hackers did not appear to be interested in anything more than sending out fake and disturbing posts. However, even though the hacking of Colin Powell’s Facebook account was pretty harmless, Facebook hacking, which is easy to do can readily lead to identity theft. A very simple flaw in Facebook procedures allows a hacker to get access to your account and the ability to change your password after the hacker is unable to answer your security question merely by having the hacker provide three “friends” with Facebook accounts to whom Facebook will send security codes that the hacker can use to gain access to your account and change your password. The hacker, of course, has already set up Facebook accounts for three phony “friends” to whom Facebook will send the security codes which can be used to hack your account. Other times, the personal information that is readily available about people on line is sufficient to answer the security question. Regardless of how the account is hacked into, the result can be an increased risk of identity theft to your real friends who may trust a message from you that contains a link with dangerous keystroke logging malware that can result in your real friend’s computer being infiltrated and all of the information on it stolen such as Social Security number, account passwords and credit card numbers that can result in identity theft.
Be careful what personal information you put on Facebook. Always consider how that information can be used against you to make you a victim of identity theft. When setting up a security question, pick an answer that is nonsensical to protect it from hackers, such as “Where did I go to High School?” with an answer of “blue.” Finally and most importantly, never, and I mean never, click on links in messages that you receive unless you are absolutely sure that they are legitimate. Merely because a message appears to be from a friend does not mean that the friend actually sent it. His or her account may have been hacked or they may even be passing on tainted material without knowing it. Never click on a link until you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate. Call your friend to confirm that the message was from them and confirm from where they got the link they are sending to make sure that it is legitimate. It may seem paranoid, but even paranoids have enemies.