Do you wonder what future cyber security threats the cyber crooks are working on to steal our money, through our computer use? According to Computerworld, the cybercriminal list of law-breaking hacking includes:
- text-message malware
- hacking into smart grids
- social network account spoofing
- cyber stalking
- hackers controlling your car
- GPS jamming and spoofing.
My thoughts on this list are that the threats are plausible (at least one has already begun), the targets are available (or will be), and there is money to be made for the cybercriminal organizations that sponsor these threats. But what really grabs my attention about these future threats is that their development will require resources such as funding, expert programmers, and intelligence, that would mirror the investment in research and development of top corporations. And is easily affordable by the cybercrime organizations because of the large amounts of money they have amassed in recent years…our money.
These six threats will each be addressed in a series of articles on this blog continuing with social network account spoofing in this post.
Social network account spoofing is the act of someone posing as a friend, or friend of a friend, or co-worker of yours who you trust; and using that trust to lure you to open a digital document, or visit a website which will trigger a malware attack on your computer. This act of spoofing isn’t new to the Internet, or email, or even social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. However, the vast number of social network users is expanding so rapidly that they are a highly visible target for organized cybercrime.
One method of spoofing takes the form of this impersonator becoming your “friend” in order to acquire enough personal information about you to steal your identity, and subsequently your credit, your money, and your bank account. Other methods take the form of enticing you to visit a website or open a malicious document as described above. New methods are developed and used all the time…cyber crooks are very resourceful and take advantage of the fact that social networking’s core DNA, so to speak, encourages and supports trust, meeting new people, communicating with friends and new acquaintances. Thus, social networking is a veritable easy target and almost like “taking candy from a baby.”
Things you can do to prevent having your “candy” taken by the bad guys are:
- limit the personal information you store in your profile and who can see your posts
- be suspicious rather than trustful of new acquaintances, friends of friends, etc..
- check out or delete any unexpected request from anyone, including friends
- start behaving with a healthy amount of paranoia toward possible threats.
I know the above suggestions may take some of the thrill and enjoyment out of using social networks to “be social”, but the inconveniences they may cause are minor to the consequences of being attacked.
Remember, be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.
Ref: Computerworld’s Six rising threats from cybercriminals
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.