3 Social Networking Threats to Watch

3 Social Networking Threats to Watch

By Stephanie Andre

RISMEDIA, December 2, 2010—You’ve finally started friending people on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and joining Networks on LinkedIn. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, like everything else online, these sites will open you up to more potential computer viruses and online threats.

Here are a few threats to watch:

Bogus E-mails from “Friends”: Hackers lure users into taking actions they shouldn’t by making it appear as if a friend within their social network has sent them an in-network e-mail – only the e-mail is from a hacker who’s hijacked the friend’s account.

Be careful to read what you can before opening the entire e-mail. Oftentimes, you can tell it’s fake: it might have a generic opening line or not sound like the person normally would.

Malicious Links or Bait: This type of scam involves personal messages to users that encourage them to click on a link. Doing so can do a number of things, including sending users to a fake website, where they’re prompted to download and install an executable file that turns out to be a virus that infects the user’s PC.

Be wise about this. If you’re unsure, don’t click on the link. You can also always send an additional e-mail to the person asking if it’s legit.

Identity Theft: Social network users who share personal information with their entire network of friends such as birth dates, addresses, pets’ names and other details leave themselves vulnerable to hackers who may guess their passwords and access their profiles based on the personal information they shared.

Keep certain personal details…personal. You’ll be glad you did and this will make it harder for someone to impersonate you.

To help increase your protection, keep a few simple rules in mind:
• Be skeptical – E-mails, friend requests, website links and other items from sources you do not know could be laced with malware.
• Use privacy settings – Social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, offer privacy settings that let you control who sees your posts and personal information. Use them to control who has access to your page, contact information, etc.
• Protect your password – Choose your passwords wisely, incorporate numbers, letters and special characters, and never use the same password at more than one site.

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