Signs of a Facebook Account Being Hacked
By David Nield
The tell-tale sign of a hacked Facebook account is activity that you don't recognize. You can check your notifications list on the site -- or from your inbox if you have email notifications set up -- to look for suspicious behavior. However, even if a hacker doesn't change any account settings or create any new posts, there are other ways of spotting unauthorized access.
If someone else has gained access to your Facebook account, you may see posts, comments and other activity you can't account for. Log in to your account, open your Timeline page, and then click the "Activity Log" button to see recent activities related to your account. If you see something you don't recognize, use the edit buttons on the right -- icons that look like pencils -- to remove these posts.
Facebook keeps a log of all your current and previous sessions on the site. Click "Account Settings" from the Settings drop-down menu -- marked with a small white cog icon -- and then select "Security." Click "Edit" next to the Active Sessions heading to see recent sessions, together with approximate locations and the devices used; click "Edit" next to the Recognized Devices heading to see a list of computers and devices Facebook has linked to your account. If you spot anything unusual on either of these lists, your account may have been hacked. You can remove suspicious devices and end activity on any open sessions that you don't recognize.
Someone who has access to your account may change your Facebook settings rather than create any posts. Choose "Account Settings" from the Settings drop-down menu -- the small white cog icon on the toolbar -- to review the email address and notification settings associated with your account. A hacker may disable email notifications, for example, to prevent you from discovering the breach, and may also try to connect your account to malicious third-party apps; review these from the "Apps" entry on the Account Settings page.
Unable to Log In
If you find yourself unable to log in to Facebook, it's possible that a hacker has managed to gain access to your account and modify the password. In some cases, the default email address may also have been changed to prevent a password reset. Facebook offers a variety of account recovery processes you can follow, including one that relies on a handful of trusted friends on the network to verify your identity. Visit Facebook's My Account Is Hacked page (link in Resources) to get started.
An information technology journalist since 2002, David Nield writes about the Web, technology, hardware and software. He is an experienced editor, proofreader and copywriter for online publications such as CNET, TechRadar and Gizmodo. Nield holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and lives in Manchester, England.