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Yesterday we noticed a large number of people having their Facebook accounts hacked. This was caused by their clicking on a link to a video sent to them by a trusted friend.

 What they didn’t know or understand was that their friend had already been hacked. The friend did not knowingly send out or post this video.

 So far it appears that this particular hack only affects Facebook, and is just posting a link to the video on your friend’s walls. (The video is graphic in nature. This is another reason that children under 13 years old should not be allowed on FB.)  Not all Facebook hacks are this way; most are much more malicious.

 Most of the time Facebook hacks send out links to videos or pictures that are actually links to a place where a virus can be downloaded to your computer. If you find yourself in the situation, there are a number of things that you can do to help restore your account and your credibility within your community of friends.

 Before I discuss that, however, I would like to discuss some practical preventative measures so that you do not find yourself in this situation

 Be sure that you change your password frequently

  • Do not use the same password for all of your social media accounts
  • Make sure your password is a strong password
  • Limit the amount of third party applications that you allow to share information
  • If you utilize a third-party application such as Hootsuite, or TweetDeck, make sure that you regularly change that password as well
  • Make sure that your virus protection on your computer is up to date, and run frequently
  • Be sure you run additional programs for malware and spyware on a regular basis
  • Make sure you have an IT person in your contact list before your computer is hit with a virus

 Why that last line? Once your computer has been infected with a virus, often times, programs that you use for prevention and detection are not enough to remove a virus from your computer. Many of them have now evolved to the point that they disable those programs. If that happens, you have to remove your hard drive and place it in a secondary machine in order to remove the viruses. Most people do not have the resources in which to perform this task. This is not a service that you want to look for when you’re in a crisis situation. Also, I highly recommend computer maintenance on a regular basis. Just as with a person’s health, there are a number of things that you can do on a regular basis to ensure that you are less likely to get a virus.

 If you don’t currently have an IT professional in your contact list, we recommend Nomad Technology Group.

Listed below are instructions posted by Mary Biever in response to yesterday’s attack:

What You Can do to Prevent and Restore Your Account and Credibility

Prevention (for all users):
A. Go to account, account settings, and password and change your password. Logout and log back in.
B. Go to account, account settings, and account security and click the check box. This will notify you when a new computer accesses your account. (This step is open on some FB accounts and not others; I think it is a new feature.)
C. If you use Hootsuite or other such products, update your password for Facebook on them.
D. Post as a status: “Do not click on any Optical Illusions Link. If you see it, the person posting has been hacked.” Contact them ASAP and tell them. Also contact the people whose walls had the video posted on it and tell them.

If the Optical Illusions Link appears on your wall:
E. Hover on right hand corner and click “Remove.” Remove the link. Do not click on it.
F. Go through steps A through D.

If you get hacked:
G. Do step A pronto.
H. Go to Account, Privacy Settings, Post by me. Click on the drop down arrow and select custom. Set your custom feed to show “only me.” Then, temporarily, your wall will be unavailable.
I. Use this time to try to discern via news feeds where the link was posted.
J. If you are able to remove the link from your friends’ walls, do so (see step E). If not, contact your friends whose walls were hit personally (via telephone) and explain what happened – explain to them how to remove the link. You will need to scan your friends’ walls to look for the post. (Hint – talk to a trusted friend with multiple mutual friends of yours.  Ask them to check their news feed.)
K. When you are comfortable problem has been contained, return settings on step H to what you had before.
L. Follow steps B through D.

Finally, the best defense is a good offense. If you are using Facebook as a way to engage your customers and encourage your employees to do the same, don’t let attacks like this deter your efforts.  If you know how to use Facebook well, you can prevent hack attacks like this and handle them if they do happen.

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