Facebook has rolled out new or improved security and privacy features in rapid succession over the past year.
Most of the changes were only announced on the official blog and on third-party sites like Ghacks talking about them. Facebook users who don’t read the official blog or third-party sites like mine may have missed some or even all of the security and privacy changes. Most of the new features are added as social networking site registration features, which means that many users do not have them enabled yet.
This short guide lists important changes and some general tips to improve the security and login of a Facebook account.
Strengthening the Facebook account
Most of the security features on Facebook relate to logging into the site. This is also where we start.
Make sure to use a secure password on Facebook. The best passwords are made up of a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. It is suggested to use at least 14 characters, the more the better. Make sure that you are not using dictionary words, names, or other terms that may be associated with you.
To change your password, proceed as follows: Click on the menu icon at the top right and select Settings menu. You can also load https://www.facebook.com/settings directly to open the settings.
Locate and activate Security and connection under Settings and click the cash the password link after page loads
A form opens on the same page where you must enter your old password and the new password. Clicking on Change Password completes the process so that the new password is the valid password from that point on. You will be logged out from all computers when you change the password.
You can enable this option to receive emails whenever someone logs into your Facebook account from an unrecognized computer.
- Select Edit next to “Receive alerts about unrecognized connections” on the Security & Connection page of the Facebook website.
- Make sure “receive notifications” is checked for notifications and / or Messenger.
- If you want to receive email alerts, also enable email alerts on the page.
Facebook automatically alerts you when it recognizes connections from devices that the service cannot associate with you.
Two-factor authentication is probably the most important security feature after selecting a strong password for your Facebook login.
The feature adds another layer to the authentication process, which means attackers can no longer just use a Facebook user’s email address and password to log in, but also need a secondary code generated in real time.
Select “use two-factor authentication” on the Security & Sign In website to enable the feature. You need a cell phone for this, and can get codes by texting or using an authenticator app.
Facebook walks you through the setup process on the website. See this help page on the Facebook site for more information.
Other things you can do or activate:
- View and manage the list of authorized devices. Delete any device you don’t recognize or no longer use.
- Choose contacts you trust to avoid getting blocked.
- Provide Facebook with your OpenPGP public key so that the company can encrypt all emails it sends to you.
- View the list of recent emails sent by Facebeook.
- Check that your contact information, especially the email address, is correct.
Is there anything else you do to secure your username and Facebook account? Let us know in the comments.
Old information that is no longer valid
Safe browsing (https)
You can open Facebook by loading http://www.facebook.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/. The difference? The HTTPS variant is more secure because it uses encryption that blocks access to spy on your network traffic. This is useful, for example, if you are connecting to the site from a public computer or from a wireless network.
The security question and answer are used by Facebook to identify the owner of the account, for example when you contact them because you no longer have access to your account. It is important to select a question and an answer that only you can answer. Remember you can add any answer you want. Instead of answering “What was your first grade teacher’s last name” with Ms. Smith, you can use characters from your ID card, driver’s license, or a phrase you remember well.
You can edit the security questions under Account settings also. Just select cash next to Security question this time.
Facebook Login Approvals
This new feature improves security by linking the Facebook account to your mobile phone number. Facebook sends a PIN code to the linked mobile phone whenever someone tries to log in from an unrecognized computer. You need to add your mobile phone number to Facebook before you can use this feature.
You can configure all three options under Account Settings. Locate Account Security and click the Edit button to see the following configuration options.
It is suggested to enable all three unless you don’t want to add your mobile phone to Facebook. Then activate the first two (safe browsing and connection notification).