by Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he’s not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.
A few days ago, I got a strange Facebook message from my uncle. It was clearly out of character for him, so I knew something was up: his account had been compromised. Here’s what to do if this happens to you or someone you know.
Let’s Talk About Getting “Hacked”
The term “hacked” gets thrown around a lot—pretty loosely, to be honest—and has become the popular term for any time an account becomes compromised. Since it has become such a vague term in popular culture, let’s lay down a quick definition: leaving your phone somewhere so your friend/gf/whatever gets access to it is not getting “hacked.” We’ve all seen those posts—“Hacked! Love you baby!” This is not a hack. Not even close. And we’re not talking about that today.
There’s another phenomenon common on Facebook where somebody else creates a new account using your name, and sometimes a profile picture they obtained from your page, and then starts spamming your friend list with invites and other messages. This is also not a hack. Report that fake user to Facebook, and they’ll help you sort it out.
What we are talking about is when your account becomes truly compromised. This is when your account credentials fall into the wrong hands or your account otherwise starts to allow activity that you didn’t authorize. While we wouldn’t always call this getting “hacked,” it’s the term that’s most widely used to describe the situation.