Last week we analysed why you can be at risk when you browse through social media. This article will highlight specific threats that you can encounter whilst enjoying a social media break:
These are some of the current hoaxes to be on the look-out for:
“Facebook will soon stop being free! Click here to keep your account open!” While it’s not a new scam, it’s often reprocessed by cyber-criminals to trick new and gullible Facebook users. People lacking good judgment (a large portion of these being teenagers) might fall for it, but instead of keeping their precious account, they will get phished for personal information.
- Friendly reminder: Facebook has never, and will never, charge for their service.
- It’s important to note that sometimes, updates can be legitimate – use common sense to determine when you should accept an update or not.
“Get a free iPad by following these 3 simple steps!” The free offer scam will get people to click on a link to get free merchandise in exchange for participating in surveys, as well as sharing the offers with others. They will receive a request to download a file on their computer, and will unwittingly infect their PC with malware. They can also be tricked into giving out their personal information: “Fill in this document to receive your free iPad within 5 business-days.”
- Friendly reminder: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
“Kim Kardashian’s biggest secret revealed! She’s in tears after the exposure of what she’s been hiding all these years – click here to read the full story.” Clickbaiting is again, not a new scam, but evolves by following trends, and it still proves effective today. Cyber-criminals take advantage of high public figures like Kim Kardashian, Kate Middleton or Hillary Clinton for example; well-known names that people would want to read about (they also generally use a picture of the celebrity, in tears). Clicking on the malicious link could potentially download malware without being noticed by the user, and their machine will then be compromised.
“Uncensored nude video.” This Trojan attack entices users to click on an infected link in order to view pornography. The video starts to play, but suddenly stops and asks the user to download an updated Flash player to continue; it actually installs malware which then spreads very quickly throughout the user’s network.
“My webcam thingy.” This malware was sent to a number of unsuspecting Twitter users’ followers through a link within a tweet, and was supposedly showing a webcam performance of a woman. It was actually a phishing website, asking for the passwords and credit cards details of the hoax victim.
Note: From a business perspective, one major threat to your company profiles is traffic hijacking. Cyber-criminals will divert your “fans” or “followers” from clicking on your actual corporate link. Instead, they will replace it with a fraudulent link, most likely leading to a phishing page.
Keep in mind these key points to prevent becoming a victim of social media frauds:
- Know your enemy: follow up on the latest social media-based attacks.
- Be suspicious of any dubious links, private messages or posts from unknown senders.
- Check with your friends to see if they sent you suspicious links or posted them on their pages, before you click on them.
- Inspect the destination of the link (to see if the web address is deceptive) by simply hovering your mouse above the hyperlink without actually clicking it: this will show the destination of the hyperlink. [visual to create – print screen]
- Do not click on links if you think there is something odd about them.
- Update your anti-virus software and operating system as regularly as possible by activating the automatic update option.
Enjoy social media, but always be aware of the multitude of threats swarming these networks!