We all survived the “Facebook and Instagram apocalypse,” as it was called. While Facebook denies this outage was due to a cyber-attack, the social media giant has suffered data breach attacks in the past. Which poses the question, how confident are you that your information on social media is safe?

For many of us, social media is a way to share personal photos with our family and friends, but we wouldn’t feel comfortable with them in the hands of just anyone. While we are not in control of data breaches, our own Facebook activities could be putting our information — as well as our social media friends — at risk. Recently, CNN reported, a pair of Ukrainian hackers used seemingly innocuous online quizzes and surveys, with titles such as “What does your eye color say about you?” to gain access to private Facebook user data and to target users with “unauthorized” advertisements.

The alleged hackers improperly used a Facebook feature that helped them take control of users’ internet browsers and gave them access to private information about Facebook users and their private friends’ lists, Facebook alleged in a lawsuit filed in Northern California. This information can be alarming to some who have found these quizzes to be fun and assumed they were harmless.

The Better Business Bureau urges people to be aware of how to guard their information. Here’s how users can help protect their social media accounts:

Be cautious with your personal information.

  • Never give out personal information, such as your full name, telephone number, address, etc. to a person or business you don’t know or trust.

Be skeptical.

  • Before you take a quiz, figure out who created it. Is it a brand you trust?

Don’t friend people you don’t know.

  • Be extra cautious of what you click on from “friends” you don’t recognize. Messages that are brief or come from people you don’t expect to hear from might be scams that include links to malicious sites.

Protect your password.

  • Use different passwords for each social media/email account and avoid including your name or common words. Never share your password with anyone; if you have to share it, change it immediately afterward.

Use extra security features.

  • Turn on two-factor authentication or set up a security code.

Log out of Facebook.

  • When using a computer you share with other people, log out.

Understand your privacy settings.

  • Familiarize yourself with your privacy settings and revisit them frequently. As Facebook adds new features, it makes decisions about settings which you may or may not like.

You can find more about BBB and the cyber security resources available to both businesses and consumers at BBB.org/cybersecurity. To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/scamtracker). To protect yourself from all kinds of scams, visit the BBB Scam Tips page (BBB.org/scamtips).

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