Hack fb likes and comments

Social media companies are juggling tài khoản security and recovery — & failing users in the process

Countless social media users are stuông chồng in account-lockout purgatory because of lost passwords or hacks. Here's how to lớn dig yourself out. (Washington Post illustration)
For Jonca Bull-Humphries, a clinical researcher who lives in the D.C. area, being locked out of Facebook after a haông xã was more than just an inconvenience.

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She was missing important updates from family và friends. She worried that whoever got into lớn her tài khoản and changed the password và associated tin nhắn address could misrepresent her khổng lồ people she cares about.

Bull-Humphries said she tried for six weeks lớn get her trương mục back, following the steps in Facebook’s official tài khoản recovery process. She pored over threads in the company’s community forums and even sent a picture of her driver’s license to verify her identity. Nothing worked.

“I’m feeling increasingly lượt thích a lesson to lớn all of those hundred of millions of people out there. When something goes wrong, it’s really hard lớn get it corrected,” she said.

A quick Google search for “locked social media account” suggests plenty of people have sầu already learned the hard way. Reddit threads, advice columns & emails to The Washington Post’s Help Desk show social truyền thông users are plagued by lost và hacked accounts và often driven lớn despair. Account recovery processes are frustrating and circular. Getting in touch with a human is rare. (But read on: With the right approach, some account-recovery stories have sầu happy endings.)

Some accounts over up locked because of lost passwords, others because of bad password hygiene and adversaries working constantly to lớn break in. Social truyền thông companies, meanwhile, juggle customer service and tài khoản security as they try khổng lồ make sure fraudsters don’t abuse recovery tools lớn wrongfully gain access. Some of this could be solved with additional security checks, but those may be bad business for companies with a grow-at-all-costs mentality.

After I emailed Facebook about Bull-Humphries’ Facebook trương mục, the company sent her a links to remix her password và all seemed to be well. But the next day, she messaged me again: The hacker was back in và Bull-Humphries was locked out.

Hackers target social media accounts because they want to lớn spread scams, phishing link or misinformation, said Jon Clay, vice president of threat intelligence at cybersecurity firm Trend Micro.

When bad actors get their hands on social media trương mục credentials, it’s often through phishing attacks that trichồng people inkhổng lồ entering their passwords or by buying stolen credentials in shady corners of the Internet, Clay said. But sometimes, they exploit the very tools that help people get baông chồng into hacked accounts. That’s why the tài khoản recovery process is so complex, according to lớn Facebook Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher.

“Any system that we build to lớn help users get their accounts bachồng, we also have to lớn recognize that it becomes a threat vector for threat actors to exploit,” he said.

Facebook uses a combination of automated systems và actual people to help users when they get locked out, it said. As for its notoriously hard-to-navigate Review process, Gleicher said, the company “needs to lớn improve sầu,” and that those improvements are in the works. The company would not chia sẻ details or a timeline.

But the difficulty of balancing security và recovery is only part of the story, said Bruce Schneier, a cybersecurity expert and public policy lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School.

Schneier said that Facebook could solve its tài khoản recovery problems with additional security features. For example, if the company required people to set up two-factor authentication, hackers couldn’t take over accounts with just a stolen email-and-password combination. But mandatory security stops would introduce friction into lớn the user experience, và that’s bad for Facebook’s data-harvesting business, Schneier said.

Gleicher said that for people in other parts of the world, that type of mandatory security measure would vì more harm than good. People outside the United States change phones và numbers often, he said, và two-factor authentication would pose a serious barrier to accessing their accounts.

Schneier said that users are stuck. Facebook has no meaningful competition, he said, so frustrated users can’t leave sầu & go elsewhere.

Jennifer Eiss, a real estate agent in Boulder, Colo., felt confused by Facebook’s recovery tool & eventually gave sầu up after her account was hacked in July, she said. She reached out lớn Hacked.com, a service for people locked out of online accounts. Eiss paid $500, and a Hacked representative sầu got her baông chồng into lớn her trương mục within the week, she said.

Hacked.com’s employees don’t use any actual hacking to get baông xã into accounts, founder Jonas Borchgrevink said. (Never, ever, hire a hacker khổng lồ get baông chồng inkhổng lồ an tài khoản, he warned, adding that many of his customers have sầu already been victims of scams lượt thích this.)

Instead, Borchgrevink and his crew have sầu become experts in the oddities of Facebook’s recovery tool. For instance, some Reddit threads suggest sending Facebook photos of your ID up to lớn seven times a day until you receive a response. A Facebook spokeswoman said repeated requests wouldn’t make a difference.

Borchgrevink walked me through what he described as a typical Facebook trương mục recovery. It is elaborate — if you have the time và energy. He recommends the following steps if you get locked out a Facebook trương mục.

Sover a recovery code khổng lồ your phone or email address. If you don’t have sầu access lớn the number and address listed, select “No longer have access lớn these?” and “Cannot access my gmail.”If it lets you, remix your gmail address. If not, open the Facebook ứng dụng on your sản phẩm điện thoại device, try to log in, & select “forgot password.” Click the button indicating you no longer have access to the phone number & gmail address associated with the account. If it lets you, reset your tin nhắn address.

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If you get to lớn the size where you reset your primary gmail by submitting a photo lớn of your ID, make sure the photo lớn is clear và high-unique (no webcams) & that all four corners of your ID are visible along with your name and birth date, Borchgrevink said. If all goes well, Facebook will send an email khổng lồ the new address allowing you khổng lồ remix your password.

Once your password is rephối, don’t celebrate just yet. If your tài khoản was hacked, the hacker may have sầu mix up two-factor authentication tied khổng lồ their own phone number. That means you’ll need a special log-in code to bypass that requirement và get back in, which requires filling out another form and uploading your ID again. If that submission is successful, Facebook will sover a link and code to lớn your new primary email. If the links doesn’t work, try the code, Borchgrevink said. If the code appears broken, try the links.

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Once you’re baông chồng into a hacked trương mục, go immediately to Settings và Privacy -> Settings -> General -> Liên hệ và make sure the tin nhắn addresses and phone numbers associated with your tài khoản are yours, not the hacker’s.

Next, go to lớn Security và Login in the left-hvà thực đơn. Scroll down & turn on two-factor authentication, making sure the hacker’s phone number isn’t connected. Last, glance at the “where you’re logged in” section and reviews your “authorized logins.” Disconnect any devices you don’t recognize. Under “setting up extra security,” turn on alerts for unrecognized log-ins and choose a few cchiến bại friends — like family members or besties — who can receive sầu tài khoản recovery codes on your behalf if anything goes sideways in the future.

What about other social media?

Each social truyền thông media site will have its own trương mục recovery process — và some may be easier than others. Despite being owned by Facebook, Instagram is much harder to lớn get back inkhổng lồ, according khổng lồ Borchgrevink.

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A Facebook spokeswoman said tài khoản recovery rates are similar for Instagram & Facebook. She declined lớn chia sẻ recovery rates.

If you forget a password, chiến bại access khổng lồ an email tài khoản or fall victim khổng lồ a haông xã, there are a few things you can do. First, go khổng lồ the ứng dụng or site’s log-in page & kiểm tra for account recovery liên kết like “I forgot my password,” “I don’t have access to lớn this email” or “My tài khoản was compromised.”

If that doesn’t solve the problem, look for the company’s help center or message its customer tư vấn tin nhắn. (It’s often Support
CompanyNameHere.com.) In your tin nhắn, feel không tính tiền khổng lồ include screenshots of any suspicious activity you noticed, like email alerts of log-in attempts or text messages with log-in codes you didn’t expect, said Anmãng cầu Larkina, a website nội dung analyst at cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.


It might also help lớn skết thúc all communications from the IP. address you usually use & to cốt truyện that IPhường. address with customer support, Larkimãng cầu said. (Google-search “what is my IPhường address.”)

Sometimes, you’ll notice a hachồng once the hacker changes your password và associated email, locking you out of your account. Other times, hackers play it cool, Trover Micro’s Clay said, using your tài khoản on occasion or waiting for the right opportunity lớn use it. Keep an eye out for messages you didn’t sover, posts you didn’t create or purchases you didn’t make.

Most importantly, take steps now to prevent hacks. Once an account is compromised, getting it baông xã is a pain, Gleicher said.

Facebook, as well as other social truyền thông media, has tools built in to lớn help prevent hacks before they happen — but you have to turn them on. At the least, go through your social truyền thông media accounts & enable two-factor authentication, which lets you approve sầu log-in attempts from your phone.

Create a br& new password for each of your accounts, advised Kaspersky’s Larkina. (As always, any password with the word “password” in it is off-limits.) That way, if one of your passwords is stolen in a breach, hackers can’t use it khổng lồ break into other accounts. Hackers use bots lớn stuff commonly used passwords into log-in pages, Larkina said. Instead, go with a string of letters, numbers and symbols. A password manager will help you rethành viên your new, hard-to-guess passwords without writing them down somewhere that isn’t secure — our favorite is Dashlane.

Lastly, keep in mind that hackers take advantage of account recovery processes and even spin up fake ones khổng lồ triông xã you into lớn sharing your password, Larkina said. If you get a message from what looks lượt thích a social media company saying that your account has been compromised, don’t follow any link or call any phone numbers in the message. Navigate to the site or app yourself, và tương tác customer service or take steps khổng lồ change your password & secure your account.

Updated October 11, 2021

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