Facebook is an everyday name. At last count, over 2.7 billion users have been recorded. Because of this, it makes this social media platform more attractive than ever for scammers and hackers. When you log in to Facebook to share an update about your day or your family, it all seems innocent. The downside is that the chances of triggering a scam or malware are increasing daily.
Today we are going to take a look at how to stay safe on Facebook and to stop the spread of these scams and malware.
Look out for freebies and surveys
Who doesn’t love something that is free?! There are many legitimate posts on Facebook for free items, but there are some things to be aware of. When you see a giveaway for vouchers from a mega-store that should be an immediate red flag. If someone is offering you a $100 Amazon voucher for filling out a quick survey, it’s too good to be true. Even one click can take you on a messy journey through the underbelly of the web. This can lead to picking up trackers and malware at every stop, not to mention at the end of it you are asked to share the post so your friends can get vouchers too.
Think about it eve on the most basic of terms, there are 2.7 BILLION users on Facebook. If even a small fraction of those people were offered a $50 Amazon card, how would someone supply that much money in gift cards? It is too good to be true. In the end, your information is compromised and no one gets rewarded.
Check your permissions with games and quizzes
Games and quizzes are fun, especially during those late nights of no sleeping. Who doesn’t want to find out what kind of cheese they are? When you access a new game or quiz, you have to give permissions for it to access your Facebook profile. Most of the time we click through these so we can get to the game or quiz without so much as an extra thought. If you take a minute to review the permissions you are giving, you will often dins that they are asking for quite a lot of personal data. This data can include your public profile, friend list, email address, birthday, and newsfeed.
Is all that information really necessary? Sometimes it can be, but other times these apps are masked with an attack against you both on and off Facebook. A majority of the information that is made public on Facebook is information needed when contacting, say, your bank? Sometimes you can go through and edit what these apps can have access to before continuing on with what you were doing. The advice here is to not just click through with an okay to everything, but to take time to read it and if it sounds sketchy, it probably is.
Don’t friend people you don’t know
This one can be hard when so many use Facebook for personal self-fulfillment and feeling important. Having lots of “friends” is nice. Accepting friends that you don’t know could end up costing you in the end. It could be someone pretending to know you, or a picture of a pretty girl to entice men (or vice versa). Once you accept their friend request they gain access to everything our friends can see. Aside from them asking access to your personal data, they now have access to intimate details of your life. This is how romance scams start and unfortunately where some people have found photos of their children online.
If it’s weird, forget it
It doesn’t happen very often, but hackers find ways to take advantage of flaws in Facebook. A common hack that keeps popping up in various forms is to embed malware in a link. The virus then infects your machine and contacts all your friends with an enticing message, like asking whether a picture is of them. When they click to view the picture, the virus catches them and their friend list, and so on. Facebook is pretty good at staying on top of these flaws, but they need time to fix it. Just like if you got a weird email with an attachment from a friend, use that same level of scrutiny in your Facebook and don’t open messages or links that seem out of place.
The bottom line with Facebook and all social media outlets is when in doubt don’t click. The risk could be far greater than the reward.