Imagine you go to log into Facebook one day and your account, well, just isn’t there anymore. Scary, right?
Well that was the reality for US journalist Jeff Bercovici when a hacker took over an old email address of his that was associated with the account, and proceeded to change every single thing about it, including deleting nine years’ worth of his Facebook activity.
No red flags, no second chances, everything gone. Not worth thinking about, is it?
Meet the guy who took over my @facebook account. How the eff was this possible? pic.twitter.com/XBzi3GOdjA
— Jeff Bercovici (@jeffbercovici) November 11, 2015
You can read the full story here – he is clear that a lot of the blame lies with him, in not having two-factor authentification enabled for his account, and for using an old email address that was in fact so ancient, and so unused, that it had been released back into circulation.
But, those key facts aside, just how easily the hacker was able to change everything about Jeff’s account once he was inside makes for chilling reading. Everything that made the account personal – its name, the profile picture, other pictures, posts and comments – were all either changed or deleted.
Wow. 9 years of Facebook history, gone for good. Ask me how I’m feeling. pic.twitter.com/JJgFe8bPWP
— Jeff Bercovici (@jeffbercovici) November 12, 2015
Seemingly with no comeback, without raising any security flags for unusual behaviour and with no chance to undo and get them back.
Now, because Jeff is an influential tech journalist based in San Francisco with over 7,000 Twitter followers, this is where his story starts to diverge from the usual user experience, something he acknowledges in his article.
A few phone calls and some insider assistance later, and his account has been fully restored. But, as was clear from the initial customer service response above, Facebook considers that once data has been deleted for any reason, as far as they are concerned it is gone for good.
So, how can you stop this happening to you? While this hacker wanted Jeff’s verified user status for himself, there’s nothing to stop people breaking into any account and taking it over, so what can you do to protect yourself?
Of course, taking all available security measures is a key one, so make sure you have enabled Facebook’s Login Approvals, which texts you a code if you access Facebook from an unrecognised device – ie one that hasn’t been used to log into your account before – and needs that code imputed before you can continue.
But the single most important thing you can do is back up your account. If the key details, such as your contacts, posts and pictures are saved, then anything happening to your account will not be such a disaster, right?
And how can you do that? With digi.me of course – you can connect your personal accounts, as well as pages, to our app and run regular syncs so that the most important information you are sharing with your Facebook friends is backed up and so can’t be lost.
Check it out here – it’s free to download and use, and you get premium features including universal search, flashback and export ability free for a month as well!
Having your data – or at least a copy of the most important parts – in a place that you own and control (in this case the digi.me library on your computer) is the single most effective thing you can do to make sure that your data stays where it belongs- with you.
And why wouldn’t you want to do that?