Bullet-proof your social network accounts

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By Daniel O. Escasa

Why does your reed-thin BFF FB-Like W8Lulzers?

He may have been Like-jacked – i.e., he clicked on a captcha that hid a Like button.

Why is his ?ber-conservative significant other spreading that ?shocking video? of a man who rapes and kills his sister?

She may have clicked on a video link from a status update with a sensational headline.

Embarrassing as these may be, and annoying to their friends, they’re more than a nuisance.?Jason Mok, country sales manager for the Philippines at Norton, offers these numbers:

    • Cybercrime costs consumers $110?billion?each year
    • 2/3 of online adults have been hit by cybercrime
    • 1 in 6 social network users have been hacked each year
    • 40?million?unique variants of malware in 2012 vs 286 million in 2010

The two incidents above?likely?fall under the last item.

Social media is now the preferred battleground for cybercrime. This is because social network users trust their friends, status updates go viral, and a share is just a mouse click away.

Also consider the following statistics regarding the Philippines:

    • 95% of Philippine Internet users are on social networks, among the highest penetration rates in the world;
    • 81% of us have an active Facebook profile, 51% a YouTube profile, and 32% an active Twitter account;
    • We spend an average of 21.5 hours per week online.

Furthermore, in 12 months of activity ending May 1, 2012, the following have been detected:

 

Activity Quantity
Manual sharing 5,410,965
Like-jacking 2,878,248
Copy-paste scams 498,547
Fake plugins 960,755
Fake offers 666,181

 

Mok offers some quick tips for safeguarding against social network attacks:

    1. Use privacy features. Review the privacy settings of your social networks.
    2. Use strong passwords.
    3. Exercise caution in regard to links.
    4. Don’t over-share.
    5. Use up-to-date security software.

Most of this amounts to common sense and a healthy dose of paranoia. To borrow a phrase from The X-Files, ?Trust no one.?

Back to your BFF and his significant other: Sadly, it’s partly their fault for being too trusting of links and shares from their contacts, or an excess of curiosity.

Scammers rely on those characteristics to spread malware.

Norton offers two solutions for protecting your social network accounts:

Norton Safe Web for Facebook analyzes your Facebook feeds and scans links share within the last 24 hours to make sure they’re safe. It’s a free Facebook app.

Norton also has Norton 360 Multi-Device, with the following features:

    • Combines PC, Mac, and mobile device protection into a single package;
    • Backs up files stored on your PC and helps keep your PC running fast and trouble-free;
    • Lets you remotely lock and locate a lost or stolen mobile device and wipe it clean to ensure the privacy of your information;
    • Provides for cloud-based management to control your protection for your various devices from one convenient place on the Web.
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