Thursday 22 May, 2014
In the last few years, hackers and cyber-crooks have been investing more and more of their shady time to attacking social media accounts. Why? Because everybody now uses sites like Twitter and Facebook, and this gives them lots of opportunities to wreak havoc. Another reason is that most people don’t realize yet that there are social media viruses.
Both Facebook and Twitter have already been hit by viruses that have caused all kinds of damage. It’s time for people to wise up and socialize just as carefully as they surf the web, send emails, download and do everything else online.
Scams and Swindles
Here’s an example of a social media virus. You get a message from a friend that says, ‘Hey, somebody is talking about you. You’d better have a look.’ It has a URL for you to click. When you click it, it logs you out and asks you to log back in. What you’ve just done is given hackers your account password.
The link may not lead anywhere at all. It may download a piece of malware directly onto your computer. This is called a ‘drive by download.’ Another common scam comes in the form of a fake security update. It says that your account may be compromised and urges you to download the latest version of some security software program.
An attack could come in the form of a video. By simply clicking on the video and watching it, you download malware to your computer. Offers of screensavers are especially common for transmitting malware.
On June 12, 2012, there was a particularly nasty piece of malware that infected thousands of accounts. Just by hovering the mouse over the link, it would redirect you to a third party site, usually a porn site, and then send the same message to all of your friends from you.
How to Keep Yourself Safe on Social Media
* Delete any messages that look strange. These messages often come from friends whose accounts have been compromised. The wording might be odd or it may be generic, saying something like, ‘Hey, click this link.’ If you’re not sure whether it’s for real or not, shoot that friend a message asking them.
* You should never click on any link that looks funny. When you hover the mouse over a link, your browser will tell you where it leads. If it leads to a site other than what the link says, don’t click it.
* Don’t download anything through your social media profile. If you’re going to download something, only do it through the program’s official website.
* Change your profile passwords often. Most people never think to do this. Make the password something random or complex and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
* Sites like Facebook and Twitter always ask if you’d like to stay signed in, but it’s best not to. Never stay signed in on a public computer or using a public network, such as a Wi-Fi connection.
* Make sure your computer’s security is up to date, especially if you’re a business. Social media malware can be particularly damaging to businesses that use social media sites.
Most of all, just be aware that social media is another way for viruses and malware to get to your computer. Use them with care.