Internet Security News & Views

Facebook Security – Learn how to spot scams and avoid malware on Facebook

Facebook Malware, Scams and Worms

With billions of people connecting on social networking sites, these sites have become a number one target for scams, malware and worms. The only guaranteed way to keep yourself safe is not to join a social networking site but that is a bit like saying don’t have a computer. Knowledge however is power so, focusing on the most popular social network site – Facebook – here are some of the most common Facebook malware, scams and worms and how to deal with them.

The best way to protect yourself from malware and worms is to prevent them from ever reaching you in the first place. Unfortunately sites such as Facebook can make this difficult as you are essentially sharing your personal information to a large group of people, some of which you may never have met.

Changing Facebook Privacy Settings

If you have not already done so, we highly recommend that you take a look at your privacy settings and change them to friends only. Remember that anything you make public on Facebook is also made public to search engines.

You can now edit who sees your posts and who can look you up. You can also block search engines from being able to link to your Timeline. Even if you have already been through your settings recently, we recommend you do so again as Facebook is continually changing and evolving.

If you’ve been on Facebook a while then your privacy settings may have been quite lax at the beginning so if you go into privacy settings you can now limit past posts on Facebook.  Yes, it does mean going through each post and either making it ‘Friends Only’ or deleting it but it is worth it.

Rogue Facebook Add-ons

Very often a scam will appear on Facebook in the guise of a must-watch video or exclusive photo. In order to see the image or watch the photo you’ll be told that you must complete a security check or download a piece of software. This is known as a Rogue Browser Add-on and it can create chaos in your web browser, spamming friends, redirecting you to sites you didn’t want and even potentially downloading further malware that could steal your personal information.

If you think you might have a Rogue Browser Add-On the first thing you should do is run a full scan with your existing anti-virus. Then go into your Control Panel and search for any Programs that have been recently added that you didn’t want. You’d also be advised to then change your social network password and manually remove any fake posts it might have made.

How to Deal with Unwanted Facebook Apps

Should you have been caught out by Facebook and either intentionally or unintentionally downloaded an app that is now causing a considerable headache, you can remove it with these easy steps.

  • Visit the App Center which is a cube icon on the left side of your home page.
  • Hover over the offending app and click on the x that appears on the right.
  • Or simply go to Account Settings (the cogwheel icon at the top right of your Facebook page)
  • Choose Account Settings.
  • Click on Apps and click on the x at the right of the app you want to remove.

Fraudulent Facebook Notification Emails

A lot of users receive email notifications of Facebook activity which is unnecessary if you log in on a daily basis. Lucily you can change notification settings very easily, thus saving your inbox from getting clogged up. To turn off Facebook notifications:

  • Go into Settings or Account
  • Click on ‘Notifications’ on the left hand side of your screen
  • Here you can edit how Facebook contacts you with notifications

A popular scam is to send fake notifications to email addresses. The email will, to all intents and purposes, look like a legitimate Facebook email that asks you to click the link taking you to your login page. Now if you have altered your notification settings to opt out of emails you’ll know straight away that it’s a fake. If you haven’t there are other simple ways of finding out if it’s genuine or not:

  • The reply-to email address is a hopelessly long one that is not connected to Facebook
  • Hover over the link and the real website address will come up, usually a pharmaceutical one

If you still aren’t sure, open a new browser window and log straight into Facebook to check directly whether or not you do have notifications.

Remember, if it looks suspicious then don’t click on the link as the worst case scenario is that it’s a malware link or a worm.

The Danger of Facebook Worms

No, not the game app! Back in 2012 Facebook had to lock down the accounts of 45,000 users because a malicious email purporting to be from Facebook actually contained a worm that duplicated itself and spread, hacking into users’ accounts and targeting their connections with malicious links. Personal information is then obtained and even sold on the black market.

Remember, never click on an email link if you are at all suspicious. If you think your account has been hacked, here’s how to deal with it.

Dealing with Hacked Facebook Accounts

Having your Facebook hacked is a major inconvenience with hackers often using your account to send spam to all your contacts, including malicious links. If you think you have been hacked then you can report it to Facebook.

Once you have your account back, change your password straight away and manually delete those spammy posts and links.

If you have been hacked

Let us know if you have any more tips on Facebook scams and how to deal with them so we can share them with our users. Feel free to tweet and share this article to help spread the info.

-The Omniquad Team

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4 Responses »

  1. Hi Randy, we cannot advice on any individual case. But if it was me personally, I would review my security settings to ensure that only Friends can message me, and that I only see updates from Friends in my feed. I would also ensure that I only had people I actually know as a Facebook Friend. I would tighten my Facebook security settings, and block any hostile profile, but also keep reporting to Facebook. But, like I said, this is what I would personally do if I had a similar problem. I hope you manage to get it sorted.

  2. Remember, never click on an email link if you are at all suspicious. If you think your account has been hacked, here’s how to deal with it. Can’t tell you how many clients have had this issue… if you don’t know them don’t click it, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is… keep getting the work out

  3. My spouse and i went over this great site and i also believe you do have a large amount of superb facts, saved to be able to bookmarking (:

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