Private profiles on Facebook can arouse the curiosity of those who do not have access to the account, since all the content posted is restricted to the user’s friends. To circumvent the privacy block, onlookers and stalkers they resort to tactics such as creating fake profiles, adding mutual friends, stealing passwords and even installing spy apps on the victim’s device. In the following list, understand how your account can be spied on and learn how to protect yourself from possible intrusions.
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Facebook: discover four tactics that curious people use to view private profiles – Photo: Luciana Maline / dnetc
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The most common method for viewing private profiles is from fake accounts. Someone very interested in gossiping about your life can create a fake profile solely and exclusively to gain access to your personal information. To persuade you to accept the friend request, the “fake friend” can impersonate a person of similar age, include interests and fanpages in common or even say that it comes from the same city, school or company.
The trick is usually more effective with people who have a lot of contacts on Facebook. Those who have fewer friends on the social network, in turn, can better identify possible false requests. To prevent curious people from having access to your profile, open the Facebook settings and, in the “Privacy” section, restrict who can send friend requests to you. It is also worth hiding the list of friends from strangers.
2. Apps with spyware
Spywares are able to monitor online activity on Facebook – Photo: Pond5
After Facebook made it difficult to access private profiles, some stalkers decided to resort to more extreme tactics, such as installing spyware on the user’s phone or computer. These spy programs, which are able to monitor online activities and pass them on to third parties, are especially dangerous, since they can extract confidential information and use it for a variety of purposes.
Unlike adware, spyware acts silently on the device and is therefore more difficult to detect. The malicious agent is usually contracted after the victim clicks on malicious links, but it can also be hidden by downloading free programs or files online. To protect yourself from the threat, it is important to keep your antivirus up to date and to redouble your attention to incoming links.
Password theft is among the tactics used to gain access to private profiles – Photo: Pond5
Another method for accessing a private profile on Facebook is password theft. The practice usually requires knowledge in programs of the type password stealers (password thieves, in Portuguese), but it can also be performed using a very simple technique: divination. Users with short passwords, without numbers and special characters, are easier targets.
Those who use the same code on multiple sites are also at risk. This is because, if any of the services suffer a data breach, a large part of the user’s accounts will be vulnerable. On the Have I Been Pwned website it is possible to check if your email address or password has already been exposed on the internet. To strengthen the security of your Facebook profile, try to create stronger codes and use password managers.
4. Add friends of friends
Curious add friends of their friends to view their account – Photo: Reproduction / Creative Commons
Not everyone restricts the privacy of publications to friends only. Some users opt for the setting that allows friends of friends to view the profile content. Knowing this, onlookers who don’t want to have too much work to snoop on your account send friend requests to contacts you have in common. Although not guaranteed, the method is likely to work. If you want to avoid unwanted access to the profile, just keep the publications restricted to your friends list.
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Facebook: tips to prevent curious people from looking at your information