In past blog posts we’ve shared about phishing emails – what they are and how to spot them. But let’s take this a step further. What if you become a victim of a phishing attack on social media? Unfortunately it can happen. There are so many fake social media accounts and fake posts. This is yet another way for cyber attackers to steal sensitive information.
Just a quick recap, a phishing attack is a form of a cyber attack. Cybercriminals will target individuals and send fake or deceiving messages with specific requests such as providing personal information via a web form. The hope is to retrieve personal data from their target such as a social security number, bank account information and so on. As with anything online it is best to be prepared and know the signs of phishing.
Here are some tips on how to fight phishing on social media:
Email is one way of becoming a victim of a phishing attack. However, it’s easy to forget that cybercriminals can reach you through a direct message on social media which is almost like another variation of email. If you receive a direct message within one of your social media accounts that seems fake and not from a trustworthy source, it’s not worth the risk to engage with that email. Sometimes a friend or family members social media account may have been hacked and emails are sent out from those accounts. These emails may contain malicious links luring you to websites in order to steal your personal information and may also encourage you to download an attachment packed with a virus. Or these emails may try to convince you to give them your own social media password as well. Direct messages can be just as dangerous as a regular email. Take the highest level of precaution when reviewing a message you receive from Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or any other social media network.
Do you ever catch yourself reading through a series of the comments on social media posts? And that is fine to do, but just read through them. Somewhere tucked into the comments are links and those links are probably placed there by a spambot. Do your best to try not to click on links in the comments that look phishy or do not look like they come from a trusted source because chances are they are fake. These are spammy comments that include links which are connected to fake or phishing websites. This is another opportunity for a cybercriminal to try to steal your personal information.
While scrolling through your newsfeed try not to engage in any posts that look fake. They could range from fake customer support posts for a popular website to a fake contest or fake giveaway post. Before clicking on a post that seems to good to be true, make sure it is from a trustworthy source. A fake post can easily be from a fake Facebook or Twitter account trying to pose as someone who they are not. Sometimes hackers will impersonate popular brands such as Target, Walmart, etc. A fake post that is coming from an untrusted source may have a misspelled account handle or have too many numbers in an account name. If a post in your newsfeed doesn’t look right to you then keep on scrolling past it.
All in all, you need to take the same precautions as you would with your email and be cautious with social media posts and/or direct messages. A phishing attack can happen anywhere – hackers get creative and are finding all sorts of ways to reach people. Hackers never stop. An as outsourced IT support provider, we never stop either to find ways to keep our clients most valuable information safe. For questions on the safety of your computer network, please give us a call today.