Protecting your privacy and personal data is more important now than it’s ever been.

You’ve probably heard about Facebook data breaches that affect millions. For every high-profile hack, there are likely dozens of smaller cyber attacks that affect fewer people–but that are just as devastating for the people involved.

These threats can include everything from malware and computer viruses to identity theft. And the threats aren’t limited to Facebook.

The good news is that you don’t have to become a victim. Use these tips to better protect your data, your privacy, and your identity on Facebook–and beyond.

1. Use two factor authentication

Two-factor authentication means you have two steps to sign into your account. This may sound like a whole lot of trouble, but it actually quite simple.

First, you have a traditional password like you have now. 

Then Facebook will send you a code via text or from a third-party app of your choosing. 

Think of two-factor authentication like using a house key plus a fingerprint scanner for your front door. It may take a few more seconds to get in, but the extra security is more than worth it. 

Set up two-factor authentication in your Facebook account settings.

2. Use stronger passwords

Your password is like a front door: You want it to be as strong and safe as possible. Here’s how to keep you and your account safe: 

  1. Create complex passwords that are hard to guess.
  2. Change your passwords more frequently.
  3. Review our tips on how to create a strong password (and how to act fast if your security has been compromised). 

Facebook also recommends the following common-sense tips to protect your password: 

  • Don’t use your Facebook password anywhere else.
  • Never share your password; you should be the only one who knows it.
  • Avoid including your name or common words; your password should be difficult to guess.

3. Use Facebook’s checkup security feature

The Facebook Security Checkup feature does two important things:

  1. Automatically logs you out of Facebook and Messenger on unused browsers and apps. (You don’t want to accidentally leave your front door open if you’re worried about thieves.)
  2. Alerts you when someone tries to sign in to your Facebook account from an unrecognized computer or mobile device.

4. Only befriend actual friends

Your Facebook friends have access to a wealth of your personal information, including your full name, location, place of birth, birthday, and more. This is the kind of personal information that can easily be exploited by identity thieves, which is why phishing among “friends” is so common on Facebook.

The fix is simple: Don’t be Facebook friends with people you don’t know. You have to ask yourself: What’s more important, the number of Facebook “friends” I have, or keeping my privacy, identity, and personal data secure?

5. Avoid public wifi

Public WiFi hotspots are so common, we assume they’re safe. But that’s a big mistake.

You have to assume that in coffee shops, hotels, and other places where you readily find wifi hotspots, security is lacking and maybe even nonexistent. (We make this assumption because it’s often true.) And when this happens…

You open yourself and your computer up to eavesdroppers who can read your information as it’s being sent from your computer to a website or service, maybe even your bank. (Makes you wonder if those coffee shop owners know about encryption.) These eavesdroppers can steal this information or even slip a virus or piece of malware into your computer without your knowledge.

However, if you must use public wifi hotspots, do so only while also using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). To put it as plainly as possible, VPNs take a public connection and make it private.

6. Protect your personal data with WinZip

Protecting your privacy and personal data is more important now than it’s ever been. To that end, besides the Facebook tips above, these three products can help protect your personal information whether you’re on Facebook or not.

WinZip Privacy Protector

WinZip Privacy Protector scans and eliminates any trace of your personal information that you leave behind online, like credit card numbers, passwords, addresses, etc. With this sensitive information gone, there will be nothing left for hackers to find.

WinZip Malware Protector

WinZip Malware Protector scans and removes all of the current security threats to your computer ― viruses, worms, adware, etc. And thanks to continuous software updates, it will prevent future threats from occurring.

WinZip Install Protector

Sometimes when you download a program, a piece of unwanted software is sneakily included without you knowing. WinZip Install Protector makes sure there are no unwanted add-ons that can cause you and your computer problems.

When it comes to protecting your personal information online, awareness and prevention is the best defense.

Do you think your personal data has been compromised?

Read our tips about what to do if you’ve been hacked.

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