A Geek’s Guide To Using Facebook Safely


Using Facebook is an excellent way to shape your personal brand (and have fun!). But how do you ensure that your information won’t get intercepted by a third party? Unfortunately, anything we put online is fodder for interception. Here are a few tips you can use to keep your information a little safer.

Change your password, and change it often!

It’s a pain! You need a password for everything these days! Changing your password can ensure that should anyone gain access to your account, the time they are able to view and or abuse your information is limited. Tip: Use your name and the date you changed the information. Incorporating upper and lower case letters as well as numbers increases the password strength. Ex. NextForWomen1032011

Always try to stay on a secure network.

Sure, sitting at a coffee shop, sipping on a latte and checking your mini-feed to see what your friends are up to is an awesome way to spend an afternoon. But, anyone sitting around you can easily access your information if you’re sharing the same open wi-fi or wireless network. Be vigilant about what you’re viewing and sending. How do you know if you’re on a secure network? Thats easy, if you didn’t have to enter a password to access the internet, you are NOT on a secure network.

Make sure you are using an HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) Connection.

Recently, Facebook enabled the option to use HTTPS in the Account Settings. Most websites are viewed on a regular HTTP connection. What’s the difference? It’s a lot of technical jargon but the short version is, HTTPS is safer, it makes it more difficult for anyone else to access your information if you’re on the same network. Simply go to Account Settings, click Account Security, and check “Secure Browsing (https)”.

Do you Facebook or conduct business often using public Wi-Fi? Consider a VPN.

What’s that? A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. Basically, it creates a private pathway for you to go about your business online without worrying about prying eyes. If you are using a secure network at home or at work, this won’t apply to you. But if you’re reading this from anywhere else – you may be utilizing a public network. Therefore, anything that is viewed before or after can be easily intercepted from those around you. VPNS: Check out LogMeIn Hamachi2, OpenVPN,  and or StrongVPN.

Do you update facebook from your cell phone using the Facebook App?

Then any and all of the numbers in your address book can be accessed by Facebook. Creepy? You bet! You should be prompted to grant permission to post your number online, but sometimes when a new update rolls out, the default setting is restored and your personal information goes public. How do you view them? Go to Facebook and click the account tab, then click “edit friends”, a new screen should come up and on the left hand side you’ll see “Phonebook”.

Facebook has stated that your address list is not accessible by other users – but rumors persist that there are work-arounds for this – you simply have to google to find them.

Sure it may seem silly, who would want to access your Facebook anyway? Consider: If you’ve spent time developing a personal brand via social media, or you interact with clients online using Facebook – spending a few extra minutes to keep your information safe is a minimal but crucial investment to help achieve your career goals.

Addie found her passion for technology and all things “geek” at an early age. She’d often take apart small appliances (to her mother’s dismay) to discover how they worked. By age twelve, she was a household “MacGuyver”, re-wiring her parent’s weed-eater (among other things) with two paper clips and some electrical tape – and yes – it worked! Addie would later fall in love with digital communication and internet-based technology, and become voracious for information on everything from network security to search engine optimization. Her articles featured on NEXT for Women include tech: tips, random facts, and other useful tidbits.

Have a question for Addie? If she doesn’t know the answer she will find out the answer for you! Simply leave a comment below.


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