October 10th, 2016

News You Can Use: 10 Easy Steps to Protect Your Facebook Account


  I love shaking up old stereotypes and telling people how tech-savvy Cecil County Public Library’s librarians are. Our staff uses technology for almost every part of their jobs: from teaching about tablets, downloading apps, uploading resumes or business plans to doing deep research and data analysis to find the best information. One area of our work expertise that sometimes surprises people is in social media. Our Business Librarian and other staff work with local businesses to improve their social media presences and CCPL librarians do social media presentations at the local, state and national level. Not your grandmother’s library anymore, huh?

Here are some of our best, easy tips on Facebook security, because most people don’t have these settings turned on and no one wants to get hacked! Prevention truly is the best medicine as hacks can be embarrassing, but can also expose you to bigger threats like viruses and identity theft.


1. Enable 2-factor authentication, also called login approvals on Facebook. This means when you log in via an unfamiliar device, you use your password, plus a code that’s sent to your phone. The “2 factors” (password + code to the phone) make hacking your account really difficult because a hacker would need to steal your phone to gain entry to your account.

2. Use good passphrases and change them regularly. If you’re not sure about the difference between a password and a passphrase, check out this cartoon from xkcd:

3. Use extreme caution when clicking links. Links are a key way for hackers to hide viruses. People usually know these days not to click on links in spammy emails, but now the threat could come via Facebook – for example, a person pretending to be a Facebook employee and contacting you via chat, trying to get you to click on a link.

4. Turn on login alerts so you’ll get a message if someone logs in to your account from a new device or computer. This is located under account settings, then security.

5. Don’t leave yourself logged in.

6. Log out of devices you haven’t used in a long time. This one can be a bit shocking if you haven’t done it in a while – you may find that you are logged into many devices. You can find this under account settings / security / where you’re logged in.

7. Make sure you’re using good general security practices (and if you’re not sure, educate yourself or ask for help). For example, for your desktop, use good antiviral protection, make sure Java and Flash are up to date and that your operating system is patched. Only connect your devices to trusted WiFi access points and make sure you get necessary updates.

8. Use Facebook’s built in “Security Checkup” tool – this is a new tool Facebook launched recently for iOS, Android and desktop that prompts and reminds you automatically to check numerous security settings. All you need to do is click “get started.”

9. Follow “Facebook Security” on Facebook – this will put regular tips, articles and updates on security into your feed.

10. Start thinking about your other accounts (not just Facebook). Most people have other accounts that are vulnerable such as email, other social media accounts, bank accounts, and more. The steps above can often be applied to greatly enhance their security.

We hope these tips help you to secure your own social media accounts and to start a conversation with a loved one about their accounts.


February 19th, 2016

Celebrating the Life and Works of Harper Lee

tkamWe at CCPL were so sad to hear today that Harper Lee passed away at age 89.  “To Kill a Mockingbird” remains one of the greatest and most influential novels in American history and Lee will forever be one of America’s greatest authors.

In honor of Lee’s life, we’ve compiled a list of other great books to try if you’re a “To Kill a Mockingbird” fan.  Haven’t read “To Kill a Mockingbird” yet? Start out with this recommendation from our staff.

If you’re a fan of Lee’s more recent “Go Set a Watchman,” try these excellent read-a-likes.  Still hungry for more?  Put a few “Classic Reads of the 1960s” on your to-read list.

And if watching is more up your alley, check out the unforgettable 1962 version of “To Kill a Mockingbird” with Gregory Peck as Atticus.  The movie is also available through our digital Hoopla service, as well as great PBS documentaries about Harper Lee.

How old were you when you first read “To Kill a Mockingbird”?  Will you be rereading it again?