We live in a day and age where the Internet rules our world and social media websites are one of the main sources in which we stay in contact with friends and stay up to date on their life events. A large issue with social media sites is the influx of hackers who target user profiles in attempts to exploit them for their own benefit.

Facebook is the largest social network in existence and is often the primary platform for hackers to infiltrate your personal account.  In this article, I'm going to cover five actions you should immediately take as soon as discover profile has been hacked or compromised. By following these steps in a timely manner, you will minimize the amount of damage the hacker can do and also help prevent your friends and family from accidentally falling victim or being exploited to the your hacker.

Step #1: Attempt To Reclaim Your Account

By visiting Facebook's “hacked” URL, you'll be able to reclaim your account and in most cases this will work if your hacker changed your password without your permission. If you are still able to successfully log into your account then go ahead to the next step.

Step #2: Change Your Facebook & Email Passwords

The most common infiltration of your Facebook account happens after your email account has been compromised. I'd HIGHLY suggest changing both passwords especially if your Facebook and email account passwords are the same. You'll want to do this as quickly as possible to ensure the hacker doesn't have the time to abuse your account or change the password themselves. Choosing a strong password will make you less vulnerable to future hacking and is highly recommend. For tips on choosing a strong password, visit this link.

Step #3: Disable Suspicious Facebook Applications

Another huge culprit of Facebook hacking is malicious applications whom install themselves onto your profile without you realizing it. To combat this, log into your account and go to Home > Account Settings > Apps and remove any applications in that list which you are not familiar with or that look suspicious.

Step #4: Notify Friends & Family About Compromised Account

If your account has been compromised, it is important to tell your family, friends, and followers in case the hacker tried to make communication or try to exploit your online connections. I've heard horror stories in the past of hackers whom have impersonated their victim to exploit family and friends into wiring money or just being downright cruel. It is important that you tell anyone connected with you that you were hacked to avoid any confusion and to remind them to check the integrity of their own account as sometimes hackers will post URLs containing viruses or scams. Since it looks like you posted these links, people are more likely to click them and jeopardize their own accounts (it can be a domino effect).

Step #5: Run Malware & AntiVirus Software

While most Facebook hacking is done through the web only, it is still highly recommend that you scan your personal computer for any malware or virus that may be connected to the hacker. Again, the chances of your computer being compromised by the same hacker is slim although you can never be too careful and it is far better to be safe than sorry.

If you've completed the above steps properly then your account should be reinstated and clean from any hackers. Stay tuned for a future article on ways to keep your Facebook account safe from hackers!

Photo Credit: Maria Elena