Facebook, possibly the worlds most recognized and talked about Social Media platform. With 1 in every 13 people on Earth having an account and more than 1,000,000 links shared on it every 20 minutes, it is one of the best ways to target an audience and connect with the rest of the World.
It also makes it a hackers dream. Scams are reported to be taking place on Facebook every day and it seems that as soon as one is reported and shut down, another pops up in its place.
Just this morning, it has gone to press that over two million Facebook passwords have been found on a server in the Netherlands, taken using the Pony Botnet and a network of compromised computers called ‘zombies’.
Google search ‘Facebook Hacks’ and the second biggest story involves a hacker that warned Facebook of a glitch that allowed anyone to post on an accounts wall, even if they were not connected in any way. As his warnings were ignored, he hacked into Mark Zuckerberg’s own Facebook account and posted his warning on the founders own timeline. He has since been rewarded $12,000 dollars for bring this bug to light.
The problem is that Facebook promotes sharing; after all it’s a big part of any social media to find, like and share things you have found with your friends and family. And scammers all over the World are taking full advantage of this.
Giveaways, competitions and ‘share for a chance to win’ links can seem safe. They are usually top brand names and if you see your friends have entered it must be safe, right?
Wrong. Big names like Dell, Costco and even Disneyland have all been used to front scams that hack into your account and lift your information when you click, or ask you for your information and use your answers to access other online accounts that you may have, including your email.
The most recent one I have personally come across has not had a lot of coverage yet, but is quite terrifying. A friend request is sent to you, and unless you are vigilant is most likely accepted. Within a week, I saw this account appear in the friends list of three quarters of my friend’s accounts. When I asked them, not one person knew the account, but ‘just added them because they sent a request and saw lots of my other mates had accepted’.
Seems real enough, however the account has a mask as a profile picture (which should flag you straight away that it is an anonymous account) and have various names, the one I have seen the most being Hani Kamal however people I know were also contacted by Naofile Frht and Weld Addarb.
They start by sending you a message asking if you love your girlfriend / boyfriend / family, and included in the message is a picture of you with them, which they have taken off your Facebook albums. You are next told that they have evidence that you have been cheating / breaking the law and send you a link to a video. In some cases, the videos are real…video chats that are sometimes a bit blue and sometimes not. The link is only available for a short period of time. They then tell you that if you do not send money, they will send the link to all of your family, friends and colleagues. They give you a list of names. When you don’t reply, they start posting to your wall WHETHER THEY ARE YOUR FRIENDS OR NOT and start to get quite threatening. There have been reports that some people have lost a lot of money through this scam, and there have been a few reports that people have even taken their own lives, however I have not found anything to support this fully on the internet.
You cannot report this to Facebook either. When we have tried, it tells us that the account is not active, even though they are still sending messages. The only way we found to stop it was to block them, and set all Security Settings to the highest privacy, however we are not sure if when you take the settings back down, they will be able to contact you again.
People forget that Facebook and other social media, in fact anything on the internet is just lines and lines of coding. Even the systems in place to protect you and your information is just more code and unfortunately, this coding can be learnt by anyone. Two million peoples information is a very valuable commodity and people WILL take the time to try and hack into it for their own gain and agenda.
So how do you keep yourself safe? Facebook itself has help pages that give you tips and advice and it is well worth a read, however we have bullet pointed the most important for you below;
NEVER ADD ANYONE THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW – this is by far the Golden Rule. Even if your friends have added them, if you do not know them personally, do not add them. Scammers take advantage of the fact that you will add someone that your friends are friends with. Don’t give them a chance.
PRIVACY SETTINGS – They are there for a reason. Yes it is lovely to be available to everyone on the internet and be connected to the whole world, but by changing a few settings, you greatly minimize your chances of being taken advantage of by a small minority of people that just want your money
AVOID LISTING YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS – Mobile phone numbers, email addresses and home address’ can all be put up on your Facebook. DO NOT LIST THEM. Your friends should already know this information, so why tell the rest of the world?
EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVER DONE ON THE INTERNET IS STILL AVAILABLE – A snap chat, a chat roulette from years ago, EVERYTHING you have ever done will be sat on a server somewhere, even if you have deleted it from your memory, hard drive and search history. It’s the things that you don’t ever want people to see that will be used against you so the rule is…if you don’t want people to see you dancing in your underwear over video chat, don’t dance in your underwear over video chat. It could resurface at any time, years later and compromise relationships, job opportunities and much more
NEVER GIVE ANYONE YOUR IMFORMATION OVER THE INTERNET – If a deal seems too good to be true ( think ‘Click here for a free Mac’…..come on, it’s never that easy!) it usually is too good to be true. Giving ANYONE your personal or bank details over the internet is never a good idea. Online shopping with well-known reputable companies is one thing, a dodgy competition on you Facebook news feed is quite another.
And remember, any trouble that you have or help that you need, we are a phone call away, so give us a ring today on 01553 766760