Things I've learnt from having my Facebook hacked.
I thought last Sunday was just an ordinary Sunday. I woke up late and reached to check my emails. I had two from Facebook saying someone had tried to log in from somewhere in the USA. Must be a phishing scam I thought and went to see what was happening on my Facebook feed, except I couldn’t get in.
Bleary eyed, I tried entering my email and password again. Nope, no joy. My adrenaline began to kick in and I started to think that the emails I received at 4.30am might not be such a scam after all. I ran to my main computer, after all things are always going to be so much better on a bigger screen. Nada, nothing. My anxiety was through the roof at this point, thinking about my social media life; the photos, the friends that have moved, the community
groups I’m in that are interesting and supportive and the pages that I run, all gone.
I want to highlight how to manage your feelings when something like hacking has taken place. Although it is virtual, it can feel like a violation of privacy. Someone virtually walking around your Facebook profile, looking at your photos and the funny memes you shared last night.
Easier said than done though! When you realise that you’re locked out of your account it is very easy to panic and you may inadvertently make things worse by acting on adrenaline. Try to calm that fight or flight response with breathing slowly. Sometimes the best thing is to step away from the computer or phone for a few minutes, go and make a cup of tea or coffee. This can be especially helpful when you are going round in the endless circles Facebook security creates.
Be careful whose advice you buy
I’ve discovered there are LOTS of people out there wanting to take your money to help you out and get you back into your account. Whilst the fight or flight response is in charge this can seem like a quick fix and a good idea. But most of them don’t guarantee results or how long it will take to get these results. Spend a few days seeing if you can fix it for free yourself.
Look for the opportunity
Facebook has always been my ‘go to’ social media. This was a good opportunity to learn more about the other forms of social media. So I started t
o try to grow my Instagram following (https://www.instagram.com/empathicatherapy/ if you’re interested). It gave me something else to focus on and something positive in the whole situation. You may decide that this is the time for you to stop using social media or reduce the amount of platforms that you are on.
Don’t think it won’t happen
To read this after it has happened isn’t easy. But take the opportunity to learn and update all the passwords on other sites, email and bank. Hacking technology has come a long way from the days of being able to use ‘password123’ as your password. Look into using tools such as LastPass that will provide you with unique random passwords which will never be guessed. That way at least it will only be a one off event.
Don't take it personally
Why me? What interest am I to this person? After speaking to someone who is involved with IT they said that chances are it was a bot who was looking for my contacts to go on and hack them as well. The fact that it wasn’t a person targeting me or choosing to go after was helpful to hear. The old fashioned way of running a programme scanning lots of different passwords until they guess the right one is very rare these days.
How did it get resolved?
If you’ve come across my blog because you’re in the same situation, this is how after 2 days of uploading my ID to Facebook via my main PC and with no success I got my account back. I uninstalled and reinstalled the app onto my phone and decided to upload the ID through there instead. I also was able to write in a section marked ‘Other’ about the hacking and the hacker had turned on 2fa.
Within an hour, I had an email response that started a different path to recovering my account. It asked me to identify friends from their photos, (so make sure you know who is on your friends list!), a few other screens and then I was back in! The sense of relief was incredible, I went to the settings and turned 2fa to my phone number and not the code generator that had been set. My social media life had returned, but I had learnt some valuable lessons along the way.
If you’d like to learn more ways of how to manage your anxiety and fight or flight responses, counselling can help. Contact me to find out more.