According to a digital marketing website (Digital Europe), the top 21 social networks, which include big names Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google Plus, have 5.7 billion user profiles combined in 2013. Compare that hefty number to the 7.2 billion global population in 2013.
Everybody seems to be engaged in social networks, which is the more reason why viruses and other sinister attacks are focusing on social networks lately—because of their huge global reach.
Security expert Norton monitored these social networks and has listed the Top 5 Social Media Attacks in 2013.
First on the list is the so called Fake Offering. These scams invite social network users to join a fake event or group with incentives such as free gift cards. Joining often requires the user to share credentials with the attacker or send a text to a premium rate number.
Fake Plug-in Scams is a type of scam where users are tricked into downloading fake browser extensions on their machines. Rogue browser extensions can pose like legitimate extensions but when installed can steal sensitive information from the infected machine.
Another is called Likejacking. Using fake “Like” buttons, attackers trick users into clicking website buttons that install malware and may post updates on a user’s newsfeed, spreading the attack.
Then there’s Fake Apps or applications provided by attackers that appear to be legitimate apps; however, they contain a malicious payload. The attackers often take legitimate apps, bundle malware with them, and then re-release it as a free version of the app.
Manual Sharing Scams rely on victims to actually do the hard work of sharing the scam by presenting them with intriguing videos, fake offers or messages that they share with their friends.
Norton provides simple steps to protect yourself from these social media traps:
- Be Discrete: Be careful of what you post in your profile page, a forum, instant message, or any form of electronic communication to help thwart possible ID theft of other forms of malicious threats. Stuff like personal and business names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates etc. are potentially dangerous to have fully exposed. Be more general in your posts/information making it harder for someone to potentially use the information against you.
- Skepticism is your friend: While social network sites have tons of useful and useless information, it is important that you keep a high level of skepticism. People often lie for their own gain, or just spout rubbish out of ignorance.
- Think Before You Speak You Mind: Although the internet does provide a small level of anonymity things can sometimes come back and bite you in the rear. This includes anything from obscenity, insults, or wild statements. Be chill, be professional. Simply put, think before you type.
- Professionalism is your friend: Everything you put online including the photos, videos and status updates are there for the world to see. Only post information that you don’t mind people knowing. Besides cyber thieves, often university admissions teams and potentials employers will look at your social networking profile to find out more about you. So be sensible and professional.
- Be Vigilant: Well ever think if that person you’re talking to is who they say they are? People aren’t always who they say they are. And until you can somehow verify the information they give you, never reveal any personal, financial, or business information.
- Check Your Privacy Settings: Social networks have sometimes been notorious for allowing others to see your information, even if they are not your “friend”. However, they will also have available their privacy guidelines/rules. Review the privacy settings and restrict the access to your personal information.
- Beware of fake invitations: Beware of fake invitations on social media. Do not accept invitations to events with incentives such as free gifts on social networks. Joining usually requires personal and credit information, which could open you up to fraud or attacks.