Friday, April 22, 2011

How to avoid facebook spam

The rise of social media has unsurprisingly brought with it a number of different online scams. Nowadays the scams are much more sophisticated than the famous Nigerian scams and can be quite hard to detect as well. What makes these types of scams even more damaging than the traditional email based techniques is that people tend to trust the links they receive from their friends. Additionally, social media makes the hackers’ job easier by providing a convenient means to spread the infection virally, instead of having to rely on lists of email addresses.

This post  covers some of the more common scams in use on Facebook today.

Click-Jacking - is a type of scam where a clickable button in your web browser performs some other function than the one intended, such as installing malware on your pc.

Like-Jacking - is commonly being linked with a fake video of a “teacher” wearing an outfit that has her back-end exposed. When you follow the link to watch the video, clicking anywhere on the video will cause you to “Like” it, posting a link to the fake webpage onto your Facebook wall. If you’ve fallen victim to this type of hoax you can click on the “x” at the top of the post and select “Remove and Unlike”.

Status-Jacking - is more malicious, it is when your account is compromised and a hacker has gained access to your login credentials. This can arise from a Click-Jacking scheme, but there are other ways in which hackers can gain access to your account.

Free Gold for Games / Free Facebook Credits- Often these types of scams will have you “Like” a Facebook profile that has been compromised. There are literally hundreds of these types of pages on Facebook, and the risk runs anywhere from simple tracking malware to full blown Status-Jacking. Like everything else on the internet, if something is being advertised as being free, chances are it’s a scam.

There are several important measures you can take to protect yourself from this type of attack :

1) Don’t click on any links from friends that seem uncharacteristic of them. If grandma is gushing over ranbir kapoor’s newest haircut, chances are her account has been compromised and the link contains malware. Unless of course your grandmother happens to like ranbir kapoor.
2) Pay attention to the source of the post. If it was posted from the web, you will see “via Facebook” text at the bottom of the post. If that text says something that sounds fishy, chances are it’s a scam.
3) Don’t trust external websites that invite you to download something. If you’re unsure whether something is a hoax or legit, just play it safe and don’t click on it.
4) Maintain up-to-date Antivirus software on your computer.
5) Make sure that your home network is secured, especially if it is wireless.
6) Maintain tight privacy settings in Facebook and regularly check that they are up-to-date.
7) Log out of Facebook after you are done if you are using a shared computer.
8) Don’t add friends that you don’t know.


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