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.


September 30th, 2016

Attention Business Owners, Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Job Seekers – We’ve got a resource tailored just for you!

25171510533_bd5d080cae_zDatabase is a word librarians throw out there, but it’s not always clear what we mean. I want to share a database that you will use, wish you knew about before, and then use again and again. What is it? Reference USA.

Reference USA is easy to use and free to all Cecil County Public Library cardholders, accessible through our website www.cecil.ebranch.info, whether you are in the library, on the go or at home. This business database carries a file for each business and the information is drawn from public records, such as number of employees, sales volume, year established, credit rating, business location, executive name, square footage of building, hours of operation, company news, and amount spent on payroll.

If you are a job seeker and have landed that coveted interview, do your research on the company before the interview using Reference USA. You could find valuable information that may impress an interviewer. Perhaps you are seeking a job in a certain industry. For example, you could search for all HVAC contractors in Cecil County, and it would pull up a list of them and link each record to www.Indeed.com to tell you if they are hiring.

Are you an aspiring business owner or current business owner? This resource will prove so valuable. You can look up your competitors and do searches by specific geographic areas. You can see how many employees your competitor has hired this year, how their sales volume has changed over the years. Perhaps you are looking for business collaborators. This database will allow you to type in a specific industry and geographic area and voila – a list of businesses matching your search criteria will appear.

In conjunction with this powerful resource, we also offer personalized one-on-one assistance with your searches. Please call our Small Business Information Center at 410-996-5600 ext. 128 to make an appointment. The library is here to help you succeed!

(Image courtesy of wocintechchat.com)

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