A massive Facebook data breach has rocked the world, and it is believed to have affected roughly 533 million users. As per reports, personal data like names, email IDs, locations and birth dates have been put on sale by hackers. Over 6 million accounts in India are likely to have been compromised, which immediately begs the question – “Is my account affected?” If you too are asking yourself this question, there is a very simple way of answering it.
How to find if your Facebook account is affected
You don’t have to go to the darknet to find out if your account details are on sale. Instead, a service can tell you whether your email id or mobile number may have been compromised in any recent data breaches.
To check for yourself, head over to www.haveibeenpwned.com on any browser via your phone or computer. In the search bar dominating the homepage, simply enter your full email id, and hit the ‘pwned?’ button. This will let you know whether your email id has ever been compromised by any hacker. If it is, then you should immediately change the account’s password and other security details.
While not recommended, people also use their mobile numbers for logging into some websites. You can check if it has been compromised using the same tool. In the search bar, enter the phone number preceded by your country’s code. Hit the ‘pwned?’ button, and you will see whether your phone number is safe or not.
10 tips to protect your personal data online
With the internet deeply entwined with our lives today, it is very difficult to not have a presence online. All this private data can fall into the wrong hands if you’re not careful. While not completely foolproof, here are 10 tips to protect your personal data.
1. Email address
Avoid using your primary email address to create accounts on other websites or platforms. You should create and use a disposable ID for just this purpose. In case a website is compromised, this secondary email ID will not have your sensitive data linked to it.
2. Facebook sign-in
Certain platforms offer the option to use your existing social media accounts to login. Though it is time-saving and hassle-free, this process is risky in case of a data breach. A hacker will not only get access to your social media account, but also all other linked websites.
3. Unique passwords
It is no doubt painful to create a unique password for every website you visit. But it is a surefire tip to protect your personal data. Even if one website is breached, the data of only that account will be compromised. If you’re worried about remembering all passwords, you can always use a password manager. We recommend 1Password and LastPass.
4. Two-step verification
It is highly recommended that you protect your apps and accounts by opting for a two-factor authentication (2FA) system. As the term suggests, it uses two steps to complete a login process. For instance, you will use a username and password for the first step, and then an OTP from your registered mobile number to complete the login process.
5. Links in emails
Be very careful about the links that are sent via emails, even if they are from an official and trusted source. Hackers are known to replicate official looking emails incorporated with a malicious link and send them to unsuspecting users. When they click on it, they unwittingly end up sending their personal data.
6. Site security
Before sharing your personal information on a website, check if the URL starts with ‘https’ and there is a lock symbol before it. These two are indicators that the website is secure, and it is safe.
7. Privacy settings
Every website, especially social media websites, have elaborate privacy controls for users. Go through them in detail to check where your private posts and photos are being seen. Consider switching visibility for your personal data (images, videos and more) to your friends and family only.
8. Incognito mode
Don’t blindly rely on incognito mode when browsing online. While it may minimize the data that is collected, as Google recently revealed, the data can still be accessed by companies and advertisers.
9. Free Wi-Fi
Very few things in life give one as much joy as free Wi-Fi connectivity. But be extremely careful when browsing on a free network, especially in public spaces. A miscreant may just be using the same free network to snap up any personal data that crops up.
10. Additional protection
Additional protection on your mobile phone or computer never hurts. It is better to be safe than sorry. Consider installing an antivirus or an anti-spyware on your devices for an extra layer of protection against cyberattacks. Try Norton 360, Bitdefender or McAfee Total Protection.
More on Gadgets