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TECHnically Speaking!
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The Person Hacking Your Account(s) Is YOU!

The Person Hacking Your Account(s) Is YOU!

This is really more of a PSA than anything else, but it will most likely come across as a scolding, as my frustration level with this subject matter is growing by the day.  Almost on a daily basis, I see friend(s) on social media reaching out to their friends stating something similar to this:

If you see blah, blah, blah from me, please ignore it.  My account has been hacked!

The reality of it is, no one is sitting there actively trying to hack into your Facebook, Twitter, IG or other social media account(s).  YOU gave them access!  STOP taking these Facebook quizzes IMMEDIATELY!

If you’re not one of the offenders, your friends certainly are.  Don’t believe me?  Take a walk down your Facebook Timeline and see how may friends of yours have taken a Facebook quiz or two and now have tons of entries showing up from some of these websites (because I am not trying to perpetuate the spread of said websites, I will not actually post links to them that may accidentally get clicked on):

  • meaww dot com
  • wittybunny dot com
  • quizlady dot com
  • quizzstar dot com
  • nametest dot com

You may be asking yourself, “What’s the harm in that?  It’s only a fun little quiz.”  Here’s your answer.

Hackers Use Facebook Quizzes to Steal Personal Info

The video above was from a NBC News report from March 2016.  Over the past year, Facebook quizzes have grown in popularity and dominate what you see as you scroll down your Timeline.  Popular quizzes ask things like:

  • What’s the first thing people notice about you?
  • What does your first name reveal about your character?
  • Who are you before and now?
  • What’s the hidden meaning of your last name?
  • Which mixed race are you based on your photo?

These are the questions I saw in my Timeline from friends in the last 10 minutes, that prompted me to write this post and remind people of the hidden dangers of these types of apps.  They are commonly know as clickbait.  The biggest thing you need to always keep in mind is that hackers are after one thing – your personal information.

Have you ever seen something like this pop up before you’ve downloaded a Facebook app, or taken a Facebook Quiz?

If you look closely, just above the “Allow” button is a statement that says, “Allowing [quiz name] access will let it pull your profile information, photos, your friends’ info, and other content that it requires to work.” And just beneath the “Allow” button is a statement that says, “By proceeding, you are allowing [quiz name] to access your information and you are agreeing to the Facebook Terms of Use.”

You have just given that quiz/app and the potential hacker everything they need to access your account and account data.  They LOVE you for making it this easy!

Now that you have been educated and scolded a bit, here is what you should do.  Take a close look at your Facebook Settings.  Click the down-arrow in the top of your Facebook browser bar.

Once you are there, click Settings (which is a 3rd of the way down in the menu, just beneath News Feed Preferences.)

While there, you may want to also review your Privacy settings, but we are looking for the Apps section.  In the left pane, click Apps.

In the Apps Settings section labeled Logged in with Facebook you can see all the apps you have given access to your Facebook account.  Make sure to click the Show All link to see all of them.  I guarantee there are a bunch that you didn’t even know about or don’t remember giving access to.

Individually “hover” over the ones you want to get rid of and click the “X” that shows up as you are hovering.  There will be a confirmation box, asking if you are sure that you want to remove said app.  This box will also note that the developer of said app may still have the data you shared with them.  Click Remove, and that app will no longer have access to your Facebook account.

Finally, you should be diligent about your privacy and personal data and be careful how and what you share.  There are a bunch of website and external apps that allow you to sign up using an email address and/or sign up using your Facebook account.  Personally, I never and will never sign up using Facebook.  I try to limit what actually has access and I review my privacy and apps setting often.  You should do the same.

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