How to Know if Your Data was Compromised on Facebook
The massive data breach at Facebook has been a hot topic in the news lately, and you may be wondering if your data was affected and if your personal information is secure online. The data breach, which happened when the political research firm Cambridge Analytica obtained the data of 87 million users, affected people around the globe. If your privacy and security is important to you, read on to learn more about how you can tell if your data was compromised, and what you can do to prevent future risks.
Did the Data Breach Affect You?
Anyone who used Cambridge Analytica’s app, This Is Your Digital Life, allowed the app to access their data, but in addition, the app was also able to access the data of people on their friends list. So even if you didn’t personally use the app, your data could have been accessed anyway. Before it was removed in 2015, the app was able to access your public profile, your birth date, your current city, and the list of pages that you like, which can reveal a lot about your personal likes and dislikes.
If you’d like to know if your data was accessed during this breach, Facebook created a resource page titled “How can I tell if my info was shared with Cambridge Analytica?” If you head to the page, there is a section titled “Was My Information Shared?” where you can see if any of your friends used the app, and how you were personally affected.
In addition, Facebook is pushing out notifications to individual users that will appear at the top of their news feed when they log into the site. These notifications give information about the breach, and let users know whether or not they were affected. While this information is available to all Facebook users, it’s in the individual user’s hands as to how they use it. And of course, this only applies to the Cambridge Analytica breach. Other breaches could have happened without our knowledge, and other data could have been stolen.
This situation calls into question how Facebook uses our data, and how secure it is once they have it. Can users trust Facebook to keep their data private, or is it being shared, sold, or used in a way that we aren’t aware of? The data stolen by Cambridge Analytica was used to influence the opinions of voters, and because the company is closely tied to conservative politicians, some are worried about the how this affected the 2016 election.
However, there are a few things we can do to protect our privacy in the future.
How to Protect Yourself From Future Breaches
Though the Cambridge Analytical scandal has been the only one of this magnitude brought to light, it doesn’t mean other similar breaches didn’t happen – we just don’t know about them yet. In reality, every time we sign up for a social media account, or another type of account with an app or website, we are signing away some of our privacy. In order to protect ourselves, we must always be informed consumers.
Learn how to read information carefully before you share or use it to make decisions, and always recognize the signs of a clever ad, or an article that seems to be biased. In addition, get familiar with privacy settings on every website you sign up for an account on, and figure out how to keep your personal information safe from the prying eyes of corporations, political influences, and people who are out to steal from you.
When you download an app or take a quiz online, and it prompts you to give access to your Facebook account, be very careful and read exactly what data it wants to access before you simply click “ok.” Many people simply breeze by these screens without a second thought, and it ends up costing them in the long run. When possible, keep your privacy settings on the highest privacy level, and only let people you know in person become your friends on Facebook.
Facebook is taking a lot of heat for this recent development, and rightfully so. In essence, they really damaged the trust that Facebook users had in the platform, and there has been a wave of people who are boycotting the site. Though it’s unlikely that this will bring about the end of the platform, it could signify a huge change. Facebook has become such an integral part of our lives (in fact, 2.2 billion accounts are registered) that many people can’t imagine a life without it, and that leads to a problem. We have to think about what we are willing to sacrifice in order to stay in touch with friends and family, take quirky personality quizzes, and share funny memes. Even the most informed consumer can have the wool pulled over their eyes.
This problem is multifaceted, and can only be solved with greater transparency from Facebook, more information available to consumers, and stricter regulations about how users’ data can be used. Though Facebook has taken steps to prevent further abuse and breaches like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, you can be sure that those who want to steal your data for monetary gain are bound to find a loophole in even the tightest security. All we, as consumers, can do is stay cautious and informed.
Privacy is important for everyone, both individuals and companies. If your company is concerned about security, and would like to work with a leader in leader in computer and network support and website development, contact us.