During the past decade social networking sites have become optimal grazing grounds for cybercriminals to easily target large pools of victims. With the free flow of personal information cybercriminals easily digest all this social data and devise targeted attacks that prey on consumers using social engineering tactics and sensationalism.
One of the biggest crowd enticers on Facebook is for the cybercriminal to produce an unbelievable video, rogue app or viral link that can be shared with a large number of users. The idea is to perpetuate a continuous bombardment of shared content that can spam the wall or messaging system of the original victim, their friends and even friends of friends.
This content is generally socially engineered to convince the victim to download a fake video viewer (in order to view that fabulous video), take a scam survey via a rogue app in order to win an iPad 3 or share a link that is infested with several redirects until it arrives at a malicious website.
Sophos Senior Technology Consultant, Graham Cluley once termed this type of cybercriminal behavior as “Jaa (Finnish for share),” because the scammers want you to share their links far and wide with your family and all of your friends in order to propagate their scams.
Social media behavior
Javelin’s 2012 Identity Fraud Report examined social media behavior amongst U.S. adults and found that certain conduct posed much higher risks of fraud. It comes as no surprise that consumers with publicly viewable social media profiles are at much higher risk to identity fraud than those without. According to Javelin, nearly half of people with public profiles share the entirety of their birth date information. Furthermore, large amounts of said population also share the name of their high school, their phone number, and even their pet’s name. These details can be dangerous in the wrong hands as they tend to be information that secure websites use to verify one’s account information.
Think before you “share” or “like”
Posting too much information in status updates can pose unintended consequences. Cybercriminals often prey on social networking sites looking for ways to steal identities and to target well-devised scams that often sound too good to be true.
Going on vacation? Create a private group of close friends and family to share this with and never post it in your status updates to all your friends. Other unsavory characters may be lurking on your friend’s pages and your home could get burglarized.
Are you thinking about “liking” that Facebook app or link that has gone viral on all your friend’s walls? You may want to think twice about that as well! There are many cybercriminals stirring the share/like pot, wishing your participation in the spread of their scams in order to further their own agenda.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for some important tips on protecting yourself before you “share” or “like” again.