Janita Docherty

What To Do About Facebook Friend Hacks!

Hacks mimic identity of your friend to access your information

Friends connecting on Facebook, more than ever, is something that needs to be respected and trusted.

Recently a number of people including me have received friend requests on Facebook from people they know. Why is this unusual? Because these requests are from people who are ‘already’ connected and listed as friends.

The requests are from scammers attempting to gain access to your Facebook account and utilise your information that you share only with friends. They are using the scam of Ghost Accounts. Meaning they are Fake Imposter Accounts, that have copied everything from a friends Facebook Account, that is available on public view.

Once they are accepted into your account, they are in a position to glean as much information as needed to further their scam. They send friend requests to your friends and can make an imposter account from your details.

What to do
If you receive a request, firstly check with your friend to see if they have created another account.

If they have not – Report the Imposter account and warn all the people in your friend list to also report the account.

Some helpful linked from Facebook:

How to fix it
Change your Profile picture and Cover photo, as the fake account is likely to have copied these and is using them. Friends can then distinguish between the imposter and the correct Facebook account.

Check what is on Public View – this is done by choosing the ‘View As’ tab on your Profile Page.

View As Tab – Will display a public view of your Timeline.

Lock down your Friend list. To do this ~ Click the friends tab on your Profile and from the dropdown box choose the option of ‘Edit Privacy’ and then ‘Only Me’.

Click on the Friends Tab on your profile – Edit Privacy – Only Me

 

Friend Hacks
The more difficult issue comes from a friend who appears to have just joined Facebook and sends you a request. Be on alert, verify the account by sending the friend a text message or email. Do Not Send an inbox message to this new account request, as this does not verify the account! If you are not comfortable contacting the person to verify the account, should they really be on your friend list?!

(If you feel you have to friend them, once verified, place them in the ‘Restricted’ or ‘Acquaintance’ listing so they view only a limited profile.)

Some would say the above is too cumbersome and time consuming, but how much is your information worth? Isn’t going the extra yards to protect your account, personal posts and photos worth it?! …. I think so!

Real life scenario
A new person started at the office and you later receive a friend request from them. A check of their Timeline shows their account was only opened last monday. For the moment you ignore the account request. The next day you check the account and they have managed to friend 16 of your mutual friends.

Nobody has bothered to check via text, email or other contact, to verify this person or the account. It is later discovered it is an imposter account.

This ‘friend hack’ now has access to a number of colleagues information from that work environment, along with access to their family photos, friends, other information and personal posts.

This is a real scenario, discovered this week! These work colleagues had no idea and are concerned as their information may have been downloaded, copied, printed out or shared by the fake account!

More than ever being a friend on social media, needs to hold an element of respect, trust and appreciation that you have been chosen to be an online friend.

The friends you have on Facebook need to have your back… if you can’t verify them or trust them.. ‘unfriend’ and get rid of them! This is for online safety and management of your digital reputation, not only for you, but for your family and friends.

Janita Docherty founder and Director of CyberActive Services is a trained Crime Prevention Executive with more than 18 years experience in the field of law and criminal investigation. Janita specialises in Facebook and Internet Safety instruction and is recognised for her work with law enforcement Units dedicated in the fields of E-Crime, Sex Crime, State Intelligence and Tactical Intelligence areas. Janita has an intricate knowledge on the workings of Facebook from a criminal intelligence perspective and is a leader in her field regarding Facebook training to Police and specialist law enforcement departments both in Australia and the United States. Janita has completed training with the Internet Crime Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce, and holds a number of Certifications, including a Diploma in Frontline Management, a full qualification in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), is a Youth Mental Health First Aider and has been presented with a National Service Medal. She is held in high regard within social media and law enforcement domains, for her enthusiasm to educate professionals, regarding online safety and digital reputation management.

Changes to hiding from public search on Facebook

Recent changes to the Facebook privacy settings, has made it difficult for users to conceal their personal profiles, as Facebook has removed the ability to hide from public search.  Facebook profiles have the ability to be located through the Facebook search function and in some cases via search engine sites such as Google.

However there is some reprieve.  Within the Facebook Privacy Settings, you have the option to remove yourself from a search engine link. This means that persons using a search engine to look for you via a name search, should be unable to link to your Facebook profile.

Go to > Privacy Settings  > Who Can Look Me Up?  > Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?  > Uncheck the box.  (as per diagram below)

Be aware this may not remove a link to your profile due to any public content that you post.  As a result please ensure you check your privacy settings and only post your information to friends.

No more hiding from public search in Facebook

Facebook has again made changes with new privacy settings, which will start rolling out to accounts over the next few weeks.

One of the changes is to the Public Search option which is being removed. Facebook account holders who previously used this privacy setting will no longer have this option. This means that as your account name can be searched publicly, ANYONE, including those people who are not on Facebook, may be in a position to find you.

For Officer Safety purposes a suggestion would be to make a slight alteration to your name, so as not to become obvious in a search result, but still enough detail that is known to your friends & family. Be thoughtful to consider the Facebook terms of service (SRR), when doing this. It may also be viable that if you do not want the public to view a personal photo of you, to change your profile picture to an avatar.

The change to public search DOES NOT change who can view your profile. If you have your privacy settings in place, this will not change. For children’s accounts the public search option will remain in inactive for them until they attain the age of 18years, where it will then go public automatically.

Regarding your profile picture and cover photo. The cover photo is the large picture that spreads across your Timeline which is public view by default and cannot be changed. It is best that personal photos, especially of you or your family, are not displayed here.

The Profile picture is the smaller picture which identifies you on Facebook. Every time you post or engage in activity on Facebook this picture represents you. Ensure your profile picture is credible and not displaying anything that may be construed as offensive or detrimental to you or your workplace.

The profile picture is also public by default, however you can click into the photo and change the view, so only your friends can see the larger version of the picture. Changing the audience to friends, disallows the public to view the larger portion of the photo AND any comments or likes that accompany it.

Click on your Profile picture – it will open to a larger view of the photo – under your name and next to where the date is displayed, you will see a grey icon, (in most instances this will be a World Globe), this is the audience selector – click on this to display a drop down box – choose the Friends option.

Just to re-iterate this does not remove your profile picture from the public search view, it only prevents the public from viewing the larger version of your photo AND any comments or likes that accompany it.



Janita Docherty founder and Director of CyberActive Services is a trained Crime Prevention Executive with more than 18 years experience in the field of law and criminal investigation. Janita specialises in Facebook and Internet Safety instruction and is recognised for her work with law enforcement Units dedicated in the fields of E-Crime, Sex Crime, State Intelligence and Tactical Intelligence areas. Janita has an intricate knowledge on the workings of Facebook from a criminal intelligence perspective and is a leader in her field regarding Facebook training to Police and specialist law enforcement departments both in Australia and the United States. Janita has completed training with the Internet Crime Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce, and holds a number of Certifications, including a Diploma in Frontline Management, a full qualification in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), is a Youth Mental Health First Aider and has been presented with a National Service Medal. She is held in high regard within social media and law enforcement domains, for her enthusiasm to educate professionals, regarding online safety and digital reputation management.

Social Media Quick Tip: How you & your agency can stay safe while using social media

Staying safe online is about connecting and sharing with those you trust

Editor’s note: The SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference provides officers with all the technical hands-on skills and the practical knowledge to utlitze social media platforms for public outreach, crime prevention and forensics. The conference is a great opportunity for those involved in social media efforts to share suggestions and stories on this ever-changing topic. Below you will find social media tips from one of the speakers at the conference.

The world of social media has opened another sphere in regards to safety and reputation management. These days you don’t need an online account to experience the emotional impact of digital abuse. These incidents can appear without warning and have a devastating effect on the lives of your family and friends.

Staying safe online is about connecting and sharing with those you trust. These tips can help deter bad experiences and give support if issues arise.

• If you’re new to social media, take your time to learn about the site and locate the report/block options.
• Talk with family and friends on what part they play regarding posting online, especially as it may reflect on you.
• Check your account and security settings.
• Turn off GPS and Facial Recognition capabilities.
• Set up Google Alerts in your name and rank.
• Stay educated by signing up with trusted sites for the latest information and tips to keep you safer online.

Janita Docherty is a trained Crime Prevention Executive with more than 18 years experience in the field of law and criminal investigation. She specialises in Facebook and Internet Safety instruction and is recognised for her work with law enforcement Units dedicated in the fields of E-Crime, Sex Crime, State Intelligence and Tactical Intelligence areas. Janita has an intricate knowledge on the workings of Facebook from a criminal intelligence perspective and is a leader in her field regarding Facebook training to Police and specialist law enforcement departments both in Australia and the United States.