We've all see it at one time or another. Can you believe what this girl did to her parents? Win free plane tickets by clicking here! What's your birthday color? Someone is saying something bad about you online (link). All of these are current or past examples of social media scams and malware that are unfortunately, much more viral when connected to a social site such as Facebook or Twitter.
Don't get me wrong, any website can be infected with all sorts of bad web stuff (technical term) and viruses. I'm also a huge advocate that avoiding social sites just for security issues is overkill. The best advice on how to avoid getting your account hacked or being vulnerable to these sort of scams, be informed and click carefully.
1. Don't play trivia or (in my personal opinion) dumb games on Facebook. Many of these third party apps that guess your personality based on two questions you answer are bad news. Though slightly entertaining, these games really can't guess the names of your first-born children. In order to "play" you have to allow the app to have access to not only your personal information but all your friends as well. Although slightly entertaining, these Facebook games are better left alone.
2. If you really really feel the need to click on it, its probably spam. These spam marketers are really good at what they do: getting you to click bad links. They create apps and video images that are almost irresistible to click on. Whether its a bad accident that was caught on camera or an ill child needing your help, be cautious when clicking the link. If it really was sent by one of your friends and you have questions, send them a quick text or message and verify they actually sent you the video or image.
3. Too good to be true? Yep, it probably is, and its probably a scam. This version of spamming is especially annoying because there are some great companies and business pages out there that are in fact giving away great deals. To protect yourself, its your job to make sure that the brand is actually offering a sweepstakes or deal and the best way to verify that is to go to their actual business Facebook page or website. You can always call the business or email for extra verification.
These are just several of the many things you can do to keep your account clean. But what happens if you do get hacked? Stay tuned for tomorrows post where I'll go through some of the steps you can take if you do happen to get a bad link or app.