Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Social Networking Hazards

Welcome back from spring break! We hope everyone feels refreshed and energetic to tackle the rest of the spring semester.

Whether you're cruising the Byfield backroads or the information superhighways, it pays to mind your manners. Did you know that Facebook malware has become a serious threat to IT security? Due to phishing and clickjacking activities, some colleges and universities are even isolating student computers before they infect the rest of the school network.

Our IT department recently sent out a reminder about Facebook threats. It's very easy to click on interesting stories and catch up on gossip on any social networking site, especially if it looks like a friend recommends the link. Unfortunately, it's equally easy to fall pray to malware programs. At the very least, they will spam your profile - and your contacts' profiles - with annoying links. At worst, you'll be stuck with very real cell phone or credit card bills.

One of the latest Facebook scams is called "My Top Stalkers". Users are directed to an external site that claims to reveal the top people checking out their profile. Of course, somewhere along the way users are asked to provide their information, and a charge will appear on their cell phone bill. You can read more about the "My Top Stalkers" scam at All Facebook: The Unofficial Facebook Resource.

So do yourself and your friends a favor. Educate yourself. Google before you click. A quick web search will often reveal a scamming attempt. Remember also to check your Facebook account settings. Make sure no rogue applications are active, because just deleting the spam posts does not get rid of malware.

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