7 Ways Your Social Media Account Is Putting Your Safety At Risk
Social media has changed the way we interact with friends and family. In fact, it seems it has helped bring people together by allowing us a peek into their daily lives and special moments. However, our accounts have also made us more vulnerable to people who want nothing but to cause trouble. While social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube play a significant part in our lives, they have also exposed us to security threats.
There are hundreds of millions of Internet users all over the world. And while these tools are great for keeping tabs on people we care about, they also attract those who want to know us for the wrong reasons. It’s not just on a personal level. With more businesses opening up accounts and using these as advertising platforms, the connections made via Likes and Comments on public spaces can open doors for criminals. Some click-bait schemes are even posing as “legitimate” pages to get information out of unknowing individuals.
Here are seven threats to security we should watch out for when using social media.
- Who Viewed Your FB Profile?
This scheme is clever because it preys on your natural curiosity. This usually appears as a message posted on your friend’s wall via accidental spamming or through ads. The moment you click on this, spammers gain access to your account and the people on your network. Even if you see this sent by your friends, don’t fall for any link unless you get verification that it’s legitimate — but this one certainly isn’t.
- Instant Twitter Followers
Avoid tweets that offer to give you “instant followers” by clicking a link. While a large following will lend more credibility to your online image, especially if you’re a business, a simple one-time authorization can lead to an attack on your entire profile. Scammers know exactly what you need online and they will exercise all means possible to get you attracted and clicking away. This is one such scheme that is so tempting, but know that it can and WILL compromise your security.
- The Facebook Color Changer
Apps that promise to get you out of that boring blue Facebook profile and turn it into a rainbow complete with “confetti” are a scam. Clicking this offer will lead you to phishing sites where you are asked to either enter your information, share the same “fun” app with your friends, or watch a video (while its bots creep into your account). This can also affect mobile devices, so be wary.
- “Shocking,” “Outrageous” and “NSFW” Video Scams
We all love controversy and almost any post with these labels are certainly intriguing enough to click. Don’t. This popular bait method is a favorite among cyber attackers and scammers. They present outlandish titles that promise explicit content to get attention and sometimes even controls your account to create a “viral” frenzy. When you click it, you will be led to fake websites or random surveys that ask you to enter information. Take note this can ruin both your social media account and your computer.
- Naked Video Scams
Similar to number 4, this preys on one’s curiosity. But, more importantly, it is an invasion of privacy. This scam poses as an “interesting”
video but all it leads you to, really, is a fake site that will plant malware on your system. It will usually say that your Flash player crashed so you can’t view the video and will need to “update.” Now that you’re wiser, stay as far away as possible from these things. They usually contain a Trojan virus.
- The “Just Saw This Photo Of You” Scam
the general content of this type of scam. This “invasion” on your personal space preys on one’s paranoia so you will feel compelled to click. Again, DON’T. It will hijack your account and spam your followers, making YOU the purveyor of the scam. Reportedly, this malicious post also installs spyware on your computer.
- Bogus Pinterest pins
Normally, people wouldn’t think Pinterest would be a target for hackers, but cybercriminals really know no platform and prey on everything. Users will be asked to click on fake pins that eventually ask them to answer “surveys” or lead them to phishing websites. These bogus pins usually come in the form of promotions, contests, or freebies that seem to come from legitimate brands. But, a closer look at the account will reveal one or two letters off. Once you click, this malicious code gets downloaded to your system and start spamming your network.
Protecting Yourself On Social Media
Of course, while these scams are easily avoided, one major issue about one’s security on social media is forgetting to change your settings to “Private” and oversharing information. Make sure that only your friends see your updates and posts. Sift through your Friends or Followers list to see if there’s an account you don’t know or have accidentally friended people you’re not really familiar with. Avoid updating your account with your whereabouts every time you move so criminals won’t know where you are or are not alerted that nobody’s home.
When it comes to your security on social media, majority rests upon you being extra careful and vigilant. Our social networks are a fun way to update friends and family, but if you’re not watchful, you could also be giving criminals the same sensitive information. Check the URLs carefully and make sure no letter is out of place, see that the address starts with https:// to indicate it’s encrypted, or run it against a link scanner first before opening it.
Five things you should never, ever share online are your 1) financial information, 2) full address and date of birth, 3) your children’s names and school details, 4) your social security, license, and credit card numbers, and 5) your daily schedule. Knowing what threats make you the most vulnerable and protect yourself.