Internet social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have revolutionized the way we interact and conduct business. Tweeting, liking, and Googling have become the action verbs of the 21st century, similar to the way faxing and texting entered our vocabulary in the 20th century.
In the present era, Facebook has over 1.4 billion members. If it were a country, it would be the most congested nation on Earth. And, like any large population base, there are people on Facebook who are trying to get away with a variety of scams.
There are lots of risks in cyberspace, and here are seven of the most prevailing social networking scams currently out there:
- Social engineering: Today, ‘social engineering’ is one of the most frequent social media threats and also the most popular tactic for cybercriminals. Social media platforms allow attackers to get personal details that can be used to target specific individuals. Utilizing information from employee profiles, a credible fake account can be created to establish trust over time. Once the trust is built, the attacker might begin asking for particular information.
- Fake accounts: In July 2010, a fake profile named Robin Sage was actively pushed to request connections to random people, which most people accepted without knowing who the fictitious woman was. The seriousness of such social media threats gets underscored when one considers that the fake account, in this case, was successful in connecting with hundreds of people from various organizations.
- Targeted phishing attacks: Such attacks are carried out to steal money or confidential information, as was the case with the Hydraq attacks in early 2010 that compromised critical information of several multinational companies. This social media threat is an instance of social engineering strategies, whereby attackers exploit fear and anxiety, instead of system vulnerability to get users to part with their wealth.
- Celeb name abuse: This is one of the trendy social media threats of today. There have been several incidents of hackers registering a new account under the name of a celebrity. Such a fake account can be used to spread misinformation and rumors or to attract new followers that can later be spammed. The significance of these threats reclines in the fact that hackers can use social media to extract personal user information and misuse it.
- Social media used for spreading spam and malware: Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are often used to spread malware. The rapidly growing popularity of shortened URLs is also giving rise to various social media threats. This threat is a real possibility for social bookmarking and microblogging sites, which are used to spread links and news in a very short span of time.
- Site compromise: In this social media threat, if an attacker compromises a social networking site with malicious code, any visitor to the site would be susceptible to attack. Hackers have also found ways to insert malicious code into advertisements and create rogue third-party applications, which lure users and ultimately compromise their computers or gather their personal information.
- Confidential particulars leak: The scariest of social media threats is where employees start revealing apparently uncritical technical information to the public. This could be a Twitter comment stating that the user is fed up configuring a particular firewall product at work or a status message indicating that the user finally found a way to a Web proxy product being used, and is now able to post to his profile again. An attacker could use this information to identify the security software of the user or the company.
All in all, just remember, “Be Aware, Connect With Care And Think Before You Click Anywhere.”
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