It’s Tech Tuesday…Do You Know Where You Are Logged In?

For those who use Facebook, it has become one of those things that is just part of the everyday scenery.  We give the security of it little thought.  I, myself, am guilty.  I’m also not prone to jump at those posts about Facebook stealing your content or over-riding your copyright rights to vacation pictures. But one came across my feed that made me wonder, so I checked it out and was I surprised.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.18.41 PMEvery time you access Facebook from a computer, mobile device or tablet, you open a session.  Most of us just leave these apps open so we don’t have to sign in again.  Not usually a problem unless you have used a public computer, like one in your campus service center or the library.  Also an issue if evil Internet ninjas manage to somehow gain access to your page, unawares to you.

There is an easy way you can check to see how many “open” session you have and most importantly what city those sessions were opened in.  When I checked mine, all looked OK, although I did have 9 open sessions and only 3 devices I use on a regular basis…hum.  Curious,  I had my husband hand over his iPad (grumbling a little as he did so) and he had 7 open sessions, 2 of which were in Brooklyn!  Not that there is anything wrong with Brooklyn, but we’ve been stuck in this ice-box we call home in Buffalo for quite awhile now.  Friends told me they had sessions logged in from different states and places they have never been.  Want to see for yourself?  Follow these directions. (There are two versions,  one for Desktops and one for mobile devices.)

Now, once again, I don’t think anyone needs to panic.  I doubt that any nefarious plan exists to take over the world from your Facebook, but like most online accounts, we need to secure them responsibly.  What does that mean?

  • Change passwords (yes, all of them) frequently. Once a month for banking and financials and a little less often perhaps for social sites.  Remember places like Amazon and iTunes keep your credit card on file and Utilities keep checking accounts numbers.
  • Since we are talking passwords, they should have a mix of letters, numbers, symbols and/or upper-case/lower-case characters.  ABC123 won’t cut it.   And don’t email it to yourself, email is not a secure method.
  • If your friends tell you they got a weird email or message, change you password immediately.  It’s not likely a big deal for you, but don’t take the chance. Besides it annoys the heck out of your email contacts.
  • If you get a weird message or email, tell your friend so they can stop spreading the love.
  • Finally, take advantage of the security features of your apps and accounts.  Spend some time getting to know them.  Features like email notifications of password change requests and login attempts can keep you on top of your online activity.

…and on a side note, post something fun and uplifting now and again.  Never hurts to make the Internet little more happy.

Vanessa Rehac
College Achievement Requires Engaged Students