Facebook phishing, where users are encouraged to visit fake Facebook sites to cast their passwords or credit card information is an increasing problem. With over 900 million users, Facebook has become one of the most attractive sites for scammers around the world. Security expert Janus R. Nielsen from www.mysecuritycenter.com confirms that the problem is increasing among their British customers and gives tips on how to stay safe.
You receive an email in your inbox from what you think is Facebook: Melanie Smith has sent you a friend request. Who could she be? If you are in doubt, think twice before you accept. Facebook recently admitted that they are facing serious security challenges, and estimated the number of fake profiles to be above 83 million. Also a study performed by “The Anti-Phishing Working Group” showed that a growing number of phishing attacks in the first quarter were related to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MSN, dating sites, etc.
Beware of fake emails
In general, Facebook fraud can be carried out in different ways. In the case of a fake emails, it may be a notification that you have a new message in your inbox, you are invited to a new event, you have been tagged in a photo, or something will happen to your account if you do not keep it activated. The common denominator is that you must click on a bad link in order to move forward. This way scammers can install viruses or spyware on your computer, so everything you do online will be registered by the hacker.
Also a problem among Brits
Janus R. Nielsen from MYSecurityCenter says that their support department the past few months has seen a growth of Facebook-related viruses and spam from new and existing British customers. “The customers, who already have our antivirus program installed, typically contact us because their Facebook page has been blocked by the software which they are a bit confused about. It turns out that they have clicked on a fake Facebook site, a copy of the original. Facebook is simple in its layout, so it is relatively easy to make a copy of the same colours, logo, etc. Scammers do it in order to gain access to other people’s login information. We have also seen examples of scams that we have been able to trace back to the fake profiles”, he says that, some customers explain that their computers start to behave strangely for no apparent reason.
“When our technicians diagnose the problem via” remote control “, a remote take over software, by which they connect to the customer’s computer, they can see that the problems are in some way related to Facebook. Often, customers have tried one of the many free games on Facebook, which makes a computer very vulnerable to malware “. Janus R. Nielsen estimates that the number of Facebook-related malware from the MYSecurityCenter database of approximately 180.000 British customers has increased from 30 inquiries in August last year to 220 inquiries in August this year.
The scammers who hack into the unfortunate Facebook accounts will have access to all private messages, which often contain sensitive information. They can also get hold of all your contacts and can send them spam mails. It becomes more and more common that your Facebook login is used in various external services for example Spotify, the majority of deal sites and other commercial e-shops. “If your account on Facebook gets hacked, it is not only personal pictures that hackers have access to. It is also the stuff you sell or buy, credit card information, address book and all other highly sensitive information,” he says.
How to stay safe
You do not have to sit back and wait for the scammers to reach you, actually you can do something yourself to reduce the risk of falling into the trap. Here is Janus R. Nielsen’s advice:
– Save www.facebook.com as a bookmark, so you are sure that you always go to the right site. If you always click on the bookmark before you log in you should be safe.
– If you need to stay sure, you should avoid clicking on links in the emails you get from Facebook as it can be very difficult to identify whether the email is sent from the real Facebook.
– Keep your antivirus program updated, so you are warned against unsafe sites that are reported as phishing. It can prevent you from visiting known malicious sites. However it does not warn against the new malicious sites that are constantly emerging. It can take up to 24 hours before a new virus or a malicious website will be blacklisted.
– Never give your Facebook login information to others unless you are logging into Facebook.com. Some hackers send out emails that you must confirm your login to ensure that your account is still active, but that is just a clever trick.
– Delete messages containing passwords and bank account information in your inbox, so you make sure that such information is not available if your Facebook account is hacked.
– Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook’s new department against phishing, if you have been exposed to phishing attacks.
– Change your password regularly.