Is Facebook Protect real? Here’s how to update your Facebook security

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QUESTION: I keep getting emails telling me I need to enable Facebook Protect – is this a scam or is it legit?

TO RESPOND: We’ve all been warned that phishing emails are one of the most common methods hackers use to compromise our accounts, so it’s only natural to suspect anything that appears to be from Facebook.

Facebook Protect was originally launched in 2018 to help political candidates and high-level elected officials better protect their accounts.

Facebook is now warning anyone it deems capable of reaching large audiences that they should also update their security settings.

The main goal of this effort is to get those who haven’t set up 2-factor authentication on their Facebook accounts to do so.

2-Factor Authentication saves your mobile number as the authentication method whenever Facebook sees you logging in from a new device or a browser it doesn’t recognize.

A temporary code will be sent to your mobile number which will be needed to access your account.

This extra layer of security greatly reduces the ability of a compromised account even if someone steals your username and password, unless they also steal your phone at the same time.

Do not click on the Facebook Protect email link

Despite the likelihood that the email message is legit, there is always a chance that someone has created a similar-looking phishing message, so never click on the link in the message to play it safe.

The safest approach is to go to your Facebook settings on a computer by clicking on the triangle icon in the upper right corner, then on the “Settings & privacy” menu and then on “Settings”.

On the left side, click on the “Settings & Login” option and scroll down until you see the “Facebook Protect” option to get started.

If you’ve already set up 2-factor authentication, the “Facebook Protect” option won’t appear, but there may be additional security settings you can enable that will appear in the “Recommended” section at the top of the “Security and Login Page” section.

If you’ve been using the same Facebook password for years or a password you use elsewhere, take a minute and change your password to something at least 15 characters long.

Use passwords that you can remember and that are longer, like “IHatePasswordsin2022!” are much more secure than shorter, complicated and hard to remember passwords. 8-character passwords are pretty much useless with today’s powerful brute-force hacking tools, so if nothing else, use your current 8-character password twice to improve security.

Another interesting setting to tweak is how Facebook will alert you when it detects a login from a location they don’t recognize. You can choose to be alerted via a Facebook notification, by email on the account(s) associated with your profile, or both.

As you review your security settings, take a minute to review the section called “Where you’re signed in” to make sure you recognize all devices and locations. Anything that you don’t recognize or is from an old device can be removed by clicking the three dots on the far right of the entry and clicking “Sign Out”. If you don’t recognize a device, be sure to change your password to play it safe.

Ken Colburn is the founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services, datadoctors.com. Ask all your technical questions on facebook.com/DataDoctors or on Twitter @TheDataDoc.

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