As an update of sorts, to my January, 2011 article: Facebook Ranked #1 Riskiest Social Media Application: Internet déjà vu?; I must reiterate that Facebook users are under attack at this time and they must be extremely careful using Facebook.com.
Cybercriminals, like their more terrestrial counterparts, develop and conduct fraudulent activities where they find the most people…and therefore the most targets. The tremendous number of www.Facebook.com users have attracted the cybercrime organizations’ attention. According to Facebook: “More than 500 million active users; 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day; Average user has 130 friends; People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook”.
They are very active in developing and executing criminal fraud using Facebook as their target base. We have seen the crooks stealing personal information from Facebook user profiles—then using that information to steal their identities and consequently, their money and credit; and luring users to fraudulent websites by phishing (fake messages such as “you’ve got to see this picture of you” that encourage the user to click a link…to the fraudulent website). And recently we’re seeing them use a more elaborate scam, based on the old email scam that says something like: “I’m stuck in London and someone stole my wallet, send money”. In the Facebook version of this scam, the crooks use one of your friends names to send you the email…using personal information from your Facebook profile, no doubt. But here’s the elaborate part: they have also posted a comment on your Facebook wall with a similar plea for money as in the email, and are also sitting on your Facebook chat list waiting to convince you in real-time. I recently came across an article on cnet News that describes this scam in detail, in fact it really happened to the writer, Charles Cooper.
Do you know what to do to avoid these fraudulent attacks? In my January article, my recommendation was, and still is as follows:
Therefore, my advice to the Facebook and other social media application users is to use them with a mentality based on distrust…yes, distrust! Before you post anything; consider, and assume, that cybercriminals will see what you say and use it to steal from you. Also, visit your profile and delete all personal information, including where you live. I know that these suggestions will somehow lower the fun potential you may experience; but you must protect yourself and your assets in any way you can.
Remember, be careful—it’s dangerous out there.
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.