By Barbara Perone
These days, computer hackers must be bored. They seem to tire of stealing top secret information & money. Now they’re resorting to sneaking into our Facebook accounts to post outlandish words, nasty messages, provocative photos, etc., onto our precious “walls.” Really! Gentlemen of the jury, I ask you …
Here are a few steps you can take to thwart thieves who attempt to attack your account on this giant of social media networks.
Evil Eyes Comin’ … Hide Your Email Address
To do this, go to Edit/Profile/Contact Information. Click on the ‘Only Me’ icon, next to your email address. Go to Account Settings/Email. Change your primary email address to a new one, then, remove the old address. Finally, while still in Account Settings, check Secure Browsing. Then, click Send me an email when a new computer or mobile device logs into this account and click Save.
No Phishing Allowed
Phishing is a way of tricking computer users into accidentally providing personal/login information to e-thieves. When a hacker “goes phishing” on Facebook, he doesn’t use a pole and a hook; usually, he sets up a phony web page that looks strikingly similar to his target’s homepage. Then, the Cretan attaches a server sided script to the homepage to track the username/password entered there and stores that information to a log. These little “phishers” sometimes also create Facebook look-at-like widgets as an alternative method of stealing login credentials.
To avoid phishing schemes, review all hyperlinks very carefully. Do not click on those that look suspicious. Before signing in to Facebook, look at the address bar, and check the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). And, remember, always sign in via the homepage, avoid the temptation to log in using widgets offered by certain blogs or websites.
Avoiding the “Key Stroke” Virus
A key logger is a virus that tracks key strokes on a computer. When a hacker has physical access to a victim’s computer it’s easy for him or her to remotely install this type of virus on the system by a using a cracker, which records all key stroke activity taken by the user.
To prevent a key logger virus from attacking your machine, install antivirus software and be sure to update it frequently. Again, avoid the temptation to click on odd-looking hyperlinks. Don’t install free toolbars, or spam software, either. Be sure to scan any third party flash/pen drives before you connect them to your machine, and, for heaven sakes, never download illegal software to your system!
What’s Social Engineering?
Social engineering is just another term for phishing. In this case, someone may to pretend to be a representative from Facebook and send you an email, asking you to change your Facebook password to 12345678 or to provide your login information to prove you are an active user. (In case you haven’t already guessed it, the good people at Facebook never ask account holders to do such things.) In a similar approach, a hacker may send a chatty email to you to get your to reveal the answers to your Security Questions.
Preventing Social Engineering
There has to be at least one or two Security Questions you can use on your Facebook account that nobody, but nobody, knows the answer to. Also, during chats and discussions with other people, be aware of who you are really talking to. Maybe if enough of us take these precautions the hackers will leave us alone and go find something else to occupy their time.
By Barbara Perone