New Facebook Search – Time to Check Your Privacy Settings?

Way back in January, we posted about Facebook’s announcement of a coming new search engine they were calling Graph Search.

Well, it’s finally here.

Click here to see Facebook’s official Introduction to Graph Search. It’s a nice-looking overview, and if for some reason the new search isn’t active on your Facebook page yet, you can click the Try Graph Search button at the bottom of the page to activate it.

Privacy Shortcut menu on Facebook

But before you go play around with Facebook’s new Graph Search engine, you might first want to review your own Facebook presence and change some of your privacy settings.

Why? Because the new Facebook search indexes your public posts, your likes, your photos, all your interests and other data you’ve shared on Facebook – and it makes all your information as easy as possible for everyone else on Facebook to find.

So, if you don’t want your boss, your ex-wife, your neighbor, or anyone else – even if they are not your friends – to have access to all your Facebook information, you should take some time to review your Facebook account and your privacy settings. Here’s how to do it:

Reviewing & Changing Your Facebook Privacy Settings

  1. Sign in to Facebook.
  2. ClicFacebook Privacy Shortcut iconk the lock icon at the top of your page (show to the right) to open your Privacy Shortcuts menu (shown above).
  3. Click Who can see my stuff? to open some privacy options.
  4. Click the first option if you want to change who can see your future posts (Friends, Close Friends, Public, etc.).
  5. Click the next Privacy Shortcut option (Use Activity Log) if you want to go back and review the visibility of all of your past Facebook activity (old posts, comments, photos, likes, etc.). This is where you can make individual changes and delete items you don’t want to show up in future searches. Click the pencil icon to “unlike” previous likes (of photos, posts, businesses, etc.) or to delete posts and photos, or change the timeline status of previous posts. Click the people icon next to any post for which you want to change the audience, for example, from Public to Friends. On the left side of this Activity Log page you can also click Photos to manage who can see photos you’ve uploaded or been tagged in. If you don’t want people to find photos of you that your friends have tagged, you can untag yourself.
  6. The next option in your Privacy Shortcuts is called View As. Click that link if you want to see what other people see on your timeline. You can see what your Facebook page looks like to the Public (people you don’t know) or specific people.
  7. To change who can see what on your page, click the Update Info button on your Cover image (you can also click the About link). You can then go section by section down your page to specify who gets to see this information. Below your personal information, you’ll see sections like Music, Movies, Books, etc. Click the pencil icon to hide any of these sections or to change your privacy settings for the section. Your choices here will affect what of yours comes up in other people’s Graph Searches, like People who like Comic Books.
  8. If you want to quickly limit who can see all of your past posts, rather than change the settings one by one on the Activity Log page, click the gear icon in the upper right and choose Privacy Settings from the menu. On this Privacy Settings and Tools page, click the Limit Past Posts link if you want to change all the past content that you’ve shared to the Friends setting. Your Activity Log lets do this for individual posts, which gives you more control, but it takes more time. This option lets you do it all in one click (really two, since they warn you and make you click again).

Facebook has some handy videos and other information explaining some of these search privacy issues.

4 Email Account Security Tips

submitted by Peter Chronis

These days criminals are using a variety of techniques to compromise and gain access to accounts across the Internet.  They then often use these compromised accounts to send spam or gain unauthorized access to a victim’s private information (emails, banking information, etc.).

Just take a look at all the recent stories about stolen passwords and hacked accounts from some of the most popular sites on the Internet today.

phishingpasswordsTo reduce the risk of getting your accounts hacked into or compromised, we recommend that you take the following precautions to protect yourself:

1. Be Careful What You Click
Never reply to emails or click on email links that ask for your username and password. Our spam prevention partners have tracked a significant increase in phishing worldwide. Criminals often use phishing scams to help gather credentials.  Phishing is a term used to describe false emails sent from spammers claiming to be sent from a legitimate company (for example, EarthLink or well-known banks) and asking for your username and password. These fraudulent emails may look quite authentic – so beware.

2. Use Varying Usernames and Passwords
Don’t use the same username and password across multiple sites like email, banking and social network sites. Recent security research revealed that, on average, people use the same credentials to log into 49 different sites. Email usernames and passwords can be acquired from security breaches suffered by other service or product providers (tens of millions of credentials have been reported this year alone by other service or product providers). If you are using the same password for your EarthLink account as other accounts that were breached, then spammers may use this information to access your EarthLink email and send spam.

For these reasons, it’s good to have a system to generate strong, unique passwords for all the sites you use. Just follow these three simple steps.

You can change your EarthLink password here at any time.

3. Run an Antivirus Program to Curb Malware Infections
Some malware today is designed to run stealthily on your computer while it records the usernames and passwords to sites you access (your Web Mail, online banking, etc.).  Some security firms are reporting malware infection rates as high as 1 in 3 computers worldwide.  To protect yourself, the first step is to run an antivirus scan on your computer.  This can be done with any antivirus program of your choice.  EarthLink offers Norton 360 Online as a premium antivirus subscription with a Free 30-Day Trial if you want to check it out.

4. Choose Your Secret Hint and Word Wisely
A secret word or hint is often used to verify your identity when account changes are being made. You should not use information associated with you that is readily available on the Internet or through other sources. If you are unsure, try doing a quick Internet search for yourself to see what you can find.  If you can find it, so can a hacker.

Stay safe out there and never hesitate to reach out if you have additional questions around email or password security.

For further support from EarthLink, visit our Knowledgebase Support Center.

Facebook Privacy Changes: Time To Vote

I got a few emails from Facebook yesterday. Not too surprising, most were automatic notices about close friends.

Facebook Site Governance Voting on Facebook

But one was surprising. It was from Facebook, the company, and it was asking me to vote on its proposed, new “Site Governance” policies (privacy and data sharing policies).

If you’re a Facebook user, you may have received one too.

Did you ignore it?

If you use Facebook and care about how it handles your personal information, you should make the effort to vote and have your voice heard.

Ironically, one of the proposals being voted on is to abolish the Facebook voting system for policy changes itself. Another is to allow Facebook to share more user data with Instagram (which Facebook purchased) and other “affiliates.” Other proposed changes cover who can see what on your Timeline, filters for incoming messages, and advertising policies.

The returns so far show the vast majority of voters rejecting the new proposals, but Facebook will only consider the vote binding if at least 30% of its 1 billion or more users vote by December 10. As of this post, only about 425,000 users have voted so far (365,000 against the changes).

So, if you care, go vote now on this page (you can’t vote from your own Facebook page).

If you want more information before you vote, Facebook posted this explanation of the changes on Monday. Probably more helpful, the LATimes.com site has a simple guide to this Facebook policy vote.

LinkedIn Passwords Stolen – What You Should Do

LinkedIn is a popular social network for professionals wanting to promote themselves and their careers, connect with current and former business contacts, and build their businesses. So you may already have joined the site.

If you are a LinkedIn user, please read on.

Yesterday, LinkedIn confirmed that some of their users’ passwords were stolen. While they are investigating the issue further, here is what they recommend that you do:

password security tips

  • If LinkedIn thinks your password was compromised, your account password will be disabled and you should get an email with instructions (but no links) giving you the first steps to resetting a new password.
  • Follow the steps in the first email and you’ll get a second email from LinkedIn with a password reset link.
  • LinkedIn also advises you to review their advice about password security.

Even if you don’t get an email from LinkedIn, you may want to proactively change your password, and use it as an opportunity to create an even stronger password.

As an Internet service provider with 18 years of experience safeguarding our members’ accounts, EarthLink has long promoted the value of creating strong passwords that you keep private and secure.

Want to know more about password security? Read our blog post about protecting your passwords, this post with a system you can use to generate strong passwords without repeating them, and this password help from the EarthLink Support Center.

If you wish to change your EarthLink password, use the Password Reset Tool on our My Account page.

We also had a link to download the free LastPass password manager from our eLink newsletter for Internet access members (scroll down to the Download section).

eHarmony users: Dating site eHarmony also confirmed a password security breach yesterday. You can read about that password security problem here.

LastPass has created tools to help you check if your LinkedIn password or eHarmony password was stolen.