Social Network Members Increasingly Vulnerable to Phishing Attacks
Among my social networking friends, I know of at least two whose accounts have been hacked and many more who have experienced attempts. One of these exploits turned painful when his friend fell for the pleas of the criminals and wired money to help out his stranded “friend”. The other friend managed to notify many of her online friends to be wary of any social networking messages she might appear to send.
The FBI now reports at least several thousand documented phishing attacks on social networks. Naturally, someone who follows through after being attacked by reporting it to a government agency is a rare, dedicated individual. One can therefore assume the number of people who have received a phony link or message from a crook are in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. One study of how easily people might fall for a phishing attack inside of a trusted network of friends suggests that 70% will click on a link. Normally a click through rate for an ad might be less than one percent so you can see why cybercriminals are happy to ply their phishing trade in the richer waters of social networks.
Here are some tips: watch out for suspicious and out-of-character links and messages that try to get you to click a link away from the social network site. Keep a list of your social network friends so if you are ever locked out of your account, you can try to contact them to warn them of possible attacks. Register multiple email addresses with each account to prevent the criminal from blocking your access via one stolen email login. Avoid using the same password on every site and email system. And stay street savvy even when hanging with childhood and work friends on your favorite “face” and “space” site.