I spent much of my Christmas holiday trying to clear a virus off my son’s computer. It was the worst one I’d ever seen. Like a monster from one of those Syfy original movies, it kept growing and mutating, blocking every move I made to try and destroy it.
How did he get the virus? Good question. The usual suspects come to mind; file sharing, clicking on suspicious links, hanging online with an unsavory crowd. Turns out getting a virus, or worse, having your identity or credit card information stolen can happen through no fault of your own.
Commtouch just released their quarterly Internet Threats Trend Report and though spam is at a three-year low, Facebook attacks are on the rise. Before we go any further, can we just rejoice in the fact that Commtouch counts Zombies as part of their report.
Now, back to business. Since Facebook’s security blocks millions of malicious links a day, scammers have turned to social engineering in order to wreck havoc. As you’ll see in the infographic below, scammers use offers of free gifts, celebrity news headlines and new app links to entice people to click. These same people then use the “like” and “share” buttons to spread the scam to all of their followers. (A small percentage use malware to “like” the link without the user knowing it.)
Commtouch found that 74% of these links lead to phony affiliate marketing or survey sites. Some cybercrooks use these sites to generate affiliate income. Others use them to collect data or trick people into signing up for a recurring payment on their credit card. Yes, people really do enter their card information into these sites.
A smaller percentage of scammers use social engineering to hack into accounts and many still pass around the old “urban legend” emails, but now in social media form, just for the fun of it.
Commtouch has put together this informative graphic all about Facebook attacks and what you can do to avoid them. Heed the warnings and save yourself a big head ache in 2012.