As been written in our articles before, researchers suspect that social network cybercrime is growing at a faster rate. More than 20,000 pieces of malware that attacked social networks in 2008, according to the online-security firm Kaspersky Lab, prove these fears.
People are used to receiving spam and malicious content in their e-mails, and no one expects malware in social network environments. This false sense of security induces people to act unsafely, compromising their privacy.
Facebook is probably the most popular social network, and probably the most wanted target for exploiting. These are 5 usual threats that could compromise your security on this popular social site.
1) The Nigerian Scam
Nigerian scam or 419 was widely popular among spammers few years ago. That doesn’t mean it became outdated or less efficient. It changed its form and now attacks users of social networks as well.
419 scams are easy to spot when coming via emails. They contain requests for money from supposedly rich individuals in countries such as Nigeria, from which the fraud gets its name. But, Facebook attacks are much craftier, however, because they hijack the identities of real people known to Facebook members, asking for money under an apparently plausible guise. Problem is that many Facebook users actually don't even know how many friends they have on the site, what they are all doing and where they located, all of which provides the scammers with a lot useful info for attack.
How to protect yourself: Before you send cash to friends in trouble, try to reach them outside of the social network, either by phone or e-mail. Also, you can ask personal question that hacker couldn't figure out from information given in the profile.
Facebook is famous for its widgets or the third-party applications you can add onto your account. Sometimes, widgets turn into rogues with a single mission: to steal your data.
The first rogue widget showed up in 2008. It was a program called Secret Crush. Instead of helping you to find your virtual admirers, it installed spyware onto your computer.
What’s even worse, it encouraged you to spread ‘the love’ by getting other friends on-board.
Secret Crush has since been disabled, but the risk for similar threats still exists. Recently, security experts determined that an application called Error Check System was sending out misleading notification messages.
How to protect yourself: Use an extra caution when installing third-party applications on Facebook. When you accept to install one of these apps, whether they’re malicious or not, you are granting access to all the info in your profile.
3) The Koobface Virus
The name of this virus is an anagram of ‘Facebook’. Once the virus infects your PC, it starts sending messages or wall posts to your Facebook friends, directing them to some ‘hilarious video’ or something equally ‘interesting’. Most Facebook users trust their virtual friends, and this is great way for hackers to access users’ private info.
Usually, the malware link promises an exciting video, but when the user clicks on it, a Web page with a fake Adobe Flash update or a fake codec that needs to be downloaded is presented. A malware is hidden in that fake download.
How to protect yourself: Antivirus software can help keep you safe, but users should use some common sense too. Don’t click on suspicious link. Ask your friends what they’ve sent to you instead. If they’re equally confused as you are, then just delete the message you’ve received.
4) Phishing Links
Phishing, which is a favorite hacker tactic for years, has found new life at social networking sites, especially on Facebook. Users are tricked with links that open official-looking Facebook log-in prompts. Bit once you enter username and password, the information is logged and your account becomes theirs.
How to protect yourself: Same as previous advise - watch where you click. Plus, if you're ever asked for your password once you’re logged in, don't enter it. Manually navigate back to the Facebook home page instead, and then log in regularly, if it’s necessary.
Facebook usergroups can sometimes be cleverly disguised marketing tools, and when you click the join link, you’re becoming part of bandwagon, whether you realize it or not.
Spammers usually pick something familiar for their usergroup name, fooling thousands of members with a primary goal – to build a mass mailing list for marketing their products.
While this is not as horrible as getting malware on your PC or losing money, it is still deceiving technique.
How to protect yourself: Be very selective when joining groups. If you’re not sure about the group details, don't accept the request.
Whom Do You Trust?
In order to stay safe, every social network user should learn to maintain control of own information, carefully selecting with whom to share it.
To being caught without a guard is one of the worst things that can happen in social networks - probably even worse than losing the money.
Whom you could trust is the most important question you could ask yourself when dealing with web networking. If you choose wrong answer, it could cost you things that are in many ways a lot more valuable than money.