The Facebook and Instagram social networks went down for many hours Wednesday, and the causes were still being accessed as of press time.
Still, this is a great opportunity to sit back and examine your own Facebook and Instagram credentials. How long has it been since you’ve changed your password? How strong is it?
If you’re one of those people whose password is 123456, or your name followed by your address, or you have the same password spread across 75 different websites, you might want to take a moment and strengthen them now because hack or not, you are at risk.
Paul Bischoff, with online security firm Comparitech.com, says it’s a good idea to change your password, but only if it’s not unique to Facebook. If you have a similar password that’s used on other accounts, “change it. Because if the hacker gets into your Facebook account, he can use the same password to get into your other accounts.”
To change your password, go to the Settings section of your Facebook account, click Security and Login, then choose edit, which is next to Change Password, and enter a new, unique password.
Ashish Gupta, CEO of security firm Bugcrowd, says the password should be a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, but most importantly, not be in use anywhere else.
Both are also fans of two-factor authentication as an added tool to keep away hackers. With two-factor, you have to log in twice before being allowed entrance.
Bischoff says apps like Google Authenticator and Authy are the most secure ways to use two-factor authentication. They generate codes that you can type into the login window, followed by an SMS code or e-mail. Best of all, they can be used to gain entrance to multiple websites and apps, and basically be your go-to, instead of say, having Facebook send you one code, and Google another.
Authy has a detailed guide on how to use the app and set it up with Facebook, available on its website.
You can also get your authentication code via e-mail, but the security experts say it’s not as secure as the apps or an SMS message.