As Social media is becoming an integral part of our daily lives, knowing how hackers hack your Facebook account becomes a necessity to ensure the safety of the information which we share on the social media platform. To prevent a hacker from getting access to our social networks, we must first understand how they hack into our accounts. I would give you detailed methods hackers used to hack your Facebook profile and other social media platforms.
They have been increasing concerns over the rate of theft that occurs via cyber security breaches. Social media cyber security concerns mostly involve identity theft and may sometimes be indirectly involved in fraudulent financial activities.
What is Man-in-the-Middle Attack (MITM)
A Man in the Middle attack is a technique used by hackers, it occurs when the attacker puts himself between your conservation and an application. The hacker does this to spy or to steal the identity of the unsuspecting victims of his attack. The victim (sender) and the application (receiver) carry out their conversation without the knowledge of the spy in-between them.
In relatable terms, let’s say you send a letter through your post office. This letter is supposed to be private, however, the post office staff opens your letter before sending it to the address. The Post office staff doesn’t just open the letter, he copies any sensitive information in them and seals the letter back before sending it to the recipient.
There are several steps that the hacker takes to hijack your connection, some of them are
- Spoofing: In this method, the attacker imitates an application on your network. He achieves this by altering the IP address of an application network. When the unsuspecting user attempts any form of commination via the altered network, he is redirected to the hacker’s website.
- Hackers can also hack into a Wi-Fi network having access to the user’s online activities.
- Sometimes, Hackers provide free public WI-FI services to the public. Anyone who connects to the network would have his online activities monitored.
The hacker could use any of the methods to get access to your social media accounts. You can take active and passive steps to prevent and protect your network from attackers who use this method.
How to prevent MITM hack on Facebook
You can actively protect yourself against MITM by using good passwords to prevent hackers from getting through your Wi-Fi network. Do not connect to public networks that you don’t know the provider. You should not leave your Mobile Phone Hotspot on without a strong password in public places.
If you do not want to trouble yourself with the active method of preventing a hacker from using the man in the middle attack, you can download a firewall that would protect your internet and wireless services when you surf the web.
How common are man-in-the-middle-attacks?
According to a report from the IBM X-Force’s Threat Intelligence Index 2018, about 35 percent of attacks by hackers were carried out via MITM. It has also warned that millions of android users are at risk of MITM attacks.
A phishing attack is a very common form of social media account hijack. Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals whereby they send you an Email that looks like that from an organization you are familiar with. Cybercriminals use phishing emails because they are simple, inexpensive, and effective. Email addresses are inexpensive to get, and sending emails is almost free.
Attackers can swiftly gain access to valuable data with little effort and expense. Those who fall into phishing scams risk getting malware (including ransomware) on their computers and mobile phones, identity theft, and data loss.
Cybercriminals also used phishing attacks to gain direct access to email, social media, and other accounts, as well as to get authorization to change and breach associated systems such as point-of-sale terminals and order processing systems.
The attacker would develop a fake Email from one of a known social media platforms urging you to submit your login details. The fake email would contain a fake header that would resemble the original email perfectly. An unsuspecting user could not tell the difference and would eventually be misled by the attacker into giving sensitive information.
How to Avoid Phishing attacks on Facebook and social media accounts?
A report by Proofpoint claimed that 83 percent of information security professionals experienced Phishing cyber-attacks in 2018. You must know how to protect and prevent a hack or security threat. Here are some ways you can avoid phishing attacks.
- Employ standard cyber security practices. Install necessary security software and always keep them up to date.
- Always be cautious of social engineering
- Learn to spot psychological triggers like the sense of urgency applied by the hacker to confuse you.
- Always observe links shared on social media.
- Inspect links sent to you through emails.
Before we can explain what cookie hijacking is, we must first define Cookie. Cookies allow websites to recognize you while you browse the web, and they are especially useful for websites with frequent visitors. If you’ve ever visited a weather website and it remembers your location based on your previous visit, you’ve seen cookies in action.
When you log in to an online application or site, such as a social media page or your profile on a shopping site, your browser recognizes that you’re logged in because the server sets temporary session cookies. That session means you can remain logged in to the site while browsing and clicking across multiple sites. You’d have to log in every time you opened a new page on that website if cookies weren’t present.
How does Cookie Hijacking work?
A cookie attack is frequently launched when an attacker sends a bogus login request to a user. The victim clicks on the bogus link, allowing the attacker to take the cookie the attacker can capture anything the user enters. The attacker then stores that cookie in their browser and can pretend to be you.
When a malware application waits for a user to check in to a website, cookie hijacking can occur. The malware then grabs the session cookie and transmits it to the attacker. The attacker may send a fake link to a website to your “DM” of your Facebook, or Twitter account. When the victim clicks the fake link, the attacker then has access to your browser cookie. The attacker saves the cookie and uses it for his malicious intent.
Another way the attacker can get access to your browser cookie is to get them via a public WI-FI connection. Here, you do not need to click on a fake link. Since he also shares the same unsecured WI-FI connection with you, he can get the session cookie and can log into the same website.
How do protect Facebook accounts from Cookie Hijacking?
There are a couple of security best practices that you can follow to prevent a hijack of your Facebook and other social networking platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and others.
Multilevel Factor Authentication or 2 Factor Authentication
2FA is an additional layer of protection used to ensure that anyone attempting to access an online account is who they claim to be. A user will first input their login and password. Then, instead of receiving quick access, they will be compelled to submit additional information.
The additional information used in two-factor authentication can be:
Something you know. The user is asked to submit some information like a secret PIN, an answer to a “secret question”, etc. This is the most basic form of 2FA and was used in the early days of social networking. However, hackers have adapted, they can guess the secret question if they study you for long enough and monitor your online activities.
Something you have. Here, the user is asked to verify that a certain item is in their possession. This could be a mobile device, credit card, etc. This type of 2FA is called SMS Text-Message 2FA. The SMS-based 2FA interacts directly with your phone, when you attempt to log in, a one-time passcode (OTP) is sent to you via text message. You would then input the OTP back into the platform. Most social media platforms use this method. You can set this up for your Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media accounts.
Biometric. Fingerprints, an iris scan, and voiceprints are unique features of every user. This is often used in today’s smartphones as another layer of security besides passwords. Although yet to be implemented on most social media platforms, it would surely make its way there.
What is Keylogging?
If you use your desktop computer to log in to your device, then you should be cautious of keylogging. 16.7% of the billions of people who use Facebook also use their personal computers to access the platform. Keylogging is when an attacker records every stroke you make on your computer keyboard. When I say record, I don’t mean installing a spy camera in your home, no! the attacker uses spyware which he tricks you to download. This means that the attacker would know every single thing you type on your keyboard. Your Password, Email, and others are all recorded by the attacker. He would use this information to carry out his malicious intent.
How to Prevent and detect Keylogging
To protect yourself from keylogging malware, adhere to online safety best practices. You should also be sensitive to and aware of suspicious activities running on your computer and or mobile device. Here are some of the cyber security measures you can take to identify, detect and prevent keylogging on your Facebook and other social media accounts.
Use 2 Factor authentication
I cannot overemphasize the use of Two-Factor Authentication. This is one of the most preventive measures you can take to protect yourself from malicious activities. With a 2FA set-up, even if the hijacker can infiltrate your computer with a key logger, he would still need access to your phone for verification. Since he can’t bypass the 2FA without your phone, this automatically hinders his activities. It also serves as a guard since you would be notified every time there is a login attempt on your Facebook page.
Don’t Download unverified apps on your computer
Key loggers need to be installed on your phone or computer before the attacker can use them. Being cautious of files that you save on your device or computer would be the best alternative and preventive means against a keylogging attack.
Always check for the product details of any file you are saving on your phone. If you are not “tech-savvy” you can try the get antivirus software that would actively and passively protect you from threats.
Use a password Manager
If you’re like me, you often depend on google to remember all your passwords to your social media accounts. The downside of using complex passwords is that- just as they are hard to decipher; they are also difficult to remember. That’s why services like google provide the feature where you can log in to other internet services using your Gmail account. However, not every platform supports the “create an account with google” feature. That’s where the Password manager comes in. Then you might ask, how can a password manager protect me from Keylogging cyber security threats? The answer is simple.
The operating principle of keylogging is that it records everything you type. If you don’t type your passwords, the attacker can’t get your passwords. It’s that simple. The password manager stores and inputs your passwords whenever you need them without having you enter them yourself.
Install Anti-virus software
Antivirus software that has anti-spyware and anti-keylogger protection is best suited for defense against keylogging cyber-attack. You can just install anti-virus and let it do the work, although, you would have to ensure that it is up to date to keep up with the ever-evolving hijacking techniques used by attackers.
Check on your programs
This is a “first-aid” measure that you can use to detect keylogging activity on your computer. You can rid your system of key loggers if you don’t find the key loggers first, would you? You have to -every once in a while- carry out an inventory check on the applications installed on your device. Note any unfamiliar program with a suspicious name. Sometimes they may be disguised as other software so you’d have to do your homework.
Check your browser extension
Key loggers can be designed for a specific function other than monitoring all your keyword strokes. Some keylogging software is built to monitor your web usage, the most common form of this type of key logger is found in the browser extension. No system can provide you with all-around security, play your part as well. Here, make sure to always inspect any extension before you opt to download it. Your worst nightmare might just be a click away!
Can Mobile devices get key loggers?
Yes, Key loggers were built for computers with physical keys, however, hackers have changed the program to perform a variety of privacy infiltration tasks. Some of the keylogging programs can record screen interactions, the files that you download on your phone, your location data, and much more. You must take the same security measures outlined above.
How keyloggers can hack Facebook accounts
Hackers employ a variety of techniques to remotely get access to your mobile devices. With access to your mobile device, they can easily get into your Facebook. Here are a couple of ways that hackers might use to get you to fall a victim to Facebook identity theft.
In the real world no, one likes fake friends, but on social networks, it is a completely different ball game. We welcome friend requests from strangers with open arms and are eager to grow our list of followers and friends. Hijackers know this too and have figured out a way to exploit this weakness. Attackers would send you a friend request on Facebook just like everybody else and would engage you in day-to-day conversations, just like everyone else. When they have gained your trust, they introduce links and encourage you to check them out. So before you accept a friend request, you better make sure the account isn’t suspicious.
Check the age of the account, and the profile picture, and also investigate the activities of the account by browsing through their timeline. Do you have any connection with the individual, did you go to the same high school, etc.? If you share nothing in common, then why would you want a “friend” you will not talk to, anyway.
Free Application downloads
Everyone loves anything free, even I do too. However, not keeping scrutinizing the source of the free app might be a mistake you would soon regret. Downloading an app built by a hacker is synonymous with a bank allowing a thief into their vaults. With a malicious app, like a keylogger, an attacker can get your password to not only your Facebook account but other important information as well.
When you’re installing an application for the first time, the app asked you for permission to access your data. We all click yes even without checking the extent of permission requested by the app. Some apps would want access to your contacts, messaging apps, camera, etc. Like I said, “Downloading an app built by a hacker is similar to having a bank allowing a thief into their vaults.”
Which social media is most hacked?
The most hacked social media platform has to be Facebook. In September 2018, hackers gained access to Facebook’s database stealing the information of millions of users. Facebook has always been toe to toe with the government about security threats. As the world’s largest social media network, government agencies watch Facebook across the globe.
But, the question is, just how many Facebook accounts were hacked? In the United States and Canada alone, more than 185 Million people use Facebook daily. Facebook reported that 30 million users had access tokens stolen and 29 million users also had their personal information and search histories stolen.
Facebook has suffered massive repercussions for its failure in protecting the data of its customers. The Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook a $5billion penalty for the data breaches incurred at the organization.
Why do hackers hack your Facebook accounts?
Data in today’s world is a Gold and anywhere that data is stored (social network databases) becomes a goldmine. Goldmines would attract a lot of miners or in this case–hackers. Most hackers hack your social media accounts for data. However, some could do so with more malicious intent, like get information about your location, finances, and other implicating and life-threatening information. You must learn to protect your data and also contact proper authorities should you suspect a breach. You can try to recover the account yourself if you have set up measures on the network platform.
What can hackers do with your Facebook data?
It depends on how integrated your social media platform is with your daily life. If you take social media as a source of income, then you might lose it. There are many other things that a hacker can do with your social media platform.
- They can steal your internet footprints.
- Hackers are commonly identity thefts
- Employ deceptive measures in collecting information from your contacts.
- Implicate you in scandalous activities.
- Use your account to carry out financial crimes.
- Post content on your timeline to spread misinformation or tarnish your image.
What are hackers looking for?
All hackers share one thing in common, they all want data. Data is gold and your social media accounts are a goldmine. Hackers are the internet’s illegal gold miners. You should do your best to not become their victim. Be security conscious.
Should I delete my Facebook account if they have hacked it?
If you spot the takeover early, you might reverse the attack. However, if the hacker hacks your Facebook account, the first order of business would be to restrict you from gaining access to the account. Hence, you could delete it. The best you can do is to inform your friends that your account was hacked.
Hackers deploy different techniques ranging from technical to psychological, to gain access to the private account of an unsuspecting victim. They are constantly evolving just as social media networks improve security. Understanding how hackers hack your Facebook account would give you insights into what to do should you fall victim.