Facebook seems to always be on the mind, with the average American spending more than six hours a month logged in, posting updates, reading updates, looking at pictures and playing games.
According to VentureBeat.com, that cumulative time spent on Facebook is 100,000 years each month. Add to media time spent on Facebook going public and the falling stock price, its easy to see why a scam artist would capitalize on the notoriety.
In general, most social media users dont care about the stocks. They do care whether their account is active or not. Scammers know this too.
The most recent scam using the Facebook name starts with a suspicious email informing Facebook users that they have received an account cancellation request. BBB heard about this scam from a computer security blog, Naked Security. Recipients are urged to follow a link to cancel the request.
Heres the clever part. The email bears the Facebook logo, and uses a similar typeface. The link appears to be official because it goes to a facebook.com address. Really, it links to a third-party application just running on the Facebook platform.
If you click on the link, a message asks you to allow an unknown application to run on your computer. Click the run button, and you will see a message telling you to download the new version of Adobe Flash. The file that downloads is not the latest version of Flash, but code allowing hackers to spy on your activities and take control of your computer.
Here are a few tips:
Dont open suspicious emails. Its relatively common knowledge that you shouldnt open an email that touts FREE FREE FREE or VIAGRA CHEAP in the subject line, but the landscape of email viruses has changed in the past few years. Now, viruses can appear as if they are coming from someone in your contacts. Make sure to monitor subject lines, even if you know the sender. If you are the victim of an email virus, immediately warn your contacts because they are the next target. After that, change your password often over the next few weeks.
Use a firewall. Even though hackers usually affect large company websites, that does not mean that home networks are completely safe. With a firewall in place, you can control your security, and filter what information from the Internet is safe and what is not.
Pass the message on. Remind family members and others about safe computer practices, just as you would teach them about bank procedures or driving. Young people need to be taught and reminded. Just because its virtual doesnt mean the consequences are virtual.
Back up your information. Viruses can affect just your email, but too often, they spread throughout your entire computer. While buying a new computer can be painful, losing pictures, documents and music can hurt even more. Once a week, or even once a day, take the time to back up information you cant live without.
Robb Hicken: 947-2115