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How to Keep Your Online Accounts Secured – A Lesson From A Stressful Ordeal

How to Keep Your Online Accounts Secured – A Lesson From A Stressful Ordeal

Just within 24 hours, two of my Facebook accounts were compromised by hackers. The first one is my fandom account (primarily used for The Lily Cat page) in which the hacker attempted to log in and change my password. I was able to catch it first and changed my password immediately.

Then just this morning, my other account (personal and work) was infiltrated by someone who logged in from Brazil. He added random people to my account and that was it. I logged out of the questionable device and changed the password immediately. I went through my profile to see if they have done anything else. Nothing so far, even in my messenger. I have blocked the two recently added people by the hacker just in case.

I honestly don’t know why they were able to successfully get through my accounts. Both of my FB accounts have 2FA enabled and my phone or email address should notify me ASAP if someone attempts to log in. I am not sure if this is crappy security from Facebook’s end or some wise engineering in the works. But if that’s the case, then there’s a chance I might have to slowly leave the platform if these cases persist. This is the first time this has happened to me before on the platform.

Even by just writing this, I’m actually not confident if my accounts are fully secured yet. The paranoia and anxiety are just too high right now and I just don’t feel like doing anything else. I tend to check my security and activity every now and then and so far nothing suspicious has happened. So changing passwords were the best thing after all…for now.

So in relation to this experience, I want to share with you some basic tips on how to keep your account safe from intruders. Remember that we are in a pandemic and having these online accounts are more important than ever so here’s how you can keep them safe:

Install Anti-Virus and Enable Firewall

As basic and obvious as it is, you should have anti-virus running on your PC whenever you are logged in. This was one of my big mistakes. I just remembered that I uninstalled my anti-virus software way back so I was unaware that there are some questionable files running or could be watching my movements. After installing an anti-virus again, my anti-virus warned me of two trojan files that are running in my system. This could be the possible culprit. I am not really much of tech expert so I can’t be for sure. But for the hacker of my personal FB account to be able to bypass by 2FA… this is possible.

Check If Your Email is Compromised

One of the basic entries for hackers to get into your accounts is your email. Once they have access to it, they are able to get into your other accounts.

One way for you to check if your email is included in a data breach is by typing in your email address here. If it notifies you that your email was part of a breach, change passwords immediately. If you have extra time, you must also change the passwords of all the accounts that you registered using this email.

Check Which Devices Your Email Has Signed In To

If you check on the security settings of your Gmail account, you would see a list of devices on which your account is signed into. If you see a PC or device that is logged in from a different location, logout that device first and change your password immediately.

Always. Always. ALWAYS. Use Two-Factor Authentication

Social media and popular platforms these days now include 2-Factor Authentication for additional protection. If there is an email that you mostly use, enable 2FA with it. It can be annoying at times but at least it gives you peace of mind every time you log in. It’s recommended that you use authenticator apps like Authy as a way to get authentication codes.

Regularly Change Your Passwords

For social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and IG, it’s important to regularly change your passwords. Online bank accounts as well. You must make it a habit to change everything when you hear that there is a recent data breach.

Conclusion

I wish I can list down more things related to this one but I have tackled the major ones already. I may not know what the intentions of the hacks are, but it gave me a good lesson to be more mindful and put effort into keeping my online accounts safe and secured. I honestly wished this wasn’t the “comeback” post that was waiting for here on the site, but at least I want to put this out here for you guys. Stay safe out there.

 

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