BBB Cautions about Social Media Hackers

As social networks continue to solidify their position at the heart of many users’ daily activities on the internet, so has an alarming rise in cyber attacks on users.

A recent security threat report by Sophos indicated that cybercriminals have increased their attacks on social networking sites by approximately 70 percent since last year.

And of 500 companies surveyed, 60 percent said Facebook — by far the largest social network internationally — posed the biggest security risk

“Hackers are constantly evolving their strategies to steal passwords and take over computers, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President & CEO of BBB Central East Texas. “The bottom line is this: be on guard any time you see something suspicious. If you do happen to fall for a scam, change your password immediately. In fact, it’s a good idea to change your passwords about every six months.”

BBB alerts consumers of two of the most common social media scams:

Phishing

One of the most common ways accounts get compromised is through simple phishing scams. The way it works is that a user’s account is compromised by a hacker and the hacker then uses that account to automatically post links on each of that user’s friends’ walls. Sometimes the system will send messages to the friends such as “Check out this funny video!” with a link that redirects to a page with a fake Facebook login page.

Sharejacking

This scam works by tricking users into “liking” malicious pages. Instead of exploiting the “like” button, though, this new “sharejack” scam relies on the “share” feature to silently post content to users’ walls. If you are redirected to a page where you are asked to re-enter your username and password or any personal information, scrutinize it carefully.

BBB cautions consumers to take the following actions to help lower their chances of becoming victim to identity theft, computer viruses, or worse…

Check your privacy settings. Among other things, these settings allow you to control who can see your posts, photos, where you are in the “places” application. This information may also be used by unscrupulous people to use your personal information for their benefit depending on what you post – where you like to eat, what your habits are, your likes/dislikes, etc.

Exercise good judgment when sharing personal details. It’s not a good idea to post overly personal information such as cell phone numbers, address, work schedule, you whereabouts, etc. unless you feel comfortable being contacted by strangers. Students have been stalked by uninvited viewers of their Facebook pages when they posted overly personal information.

Only download mobile phone applications from trusted sources. Check the reviews from other users and application rankings to determine popularity and safety.

Rotate passwords every few months, and do not use the same few passwords for multiple accounts. Keep the passwords in a safe place in your home — not on your laptop or phone.

Check your free credit report annually from each of the three national credit reporting companies at  www.annualcreditreport.com to make sure that your accounts have not been compromised.

For more tips on internet safety, check out the Better Business Bureau, at www.bbb.org

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