Millions of internet users fell for Facebook scams in 2014, leading to the loss of money, reputation and even jobs after simply clicking on the wrong social media link. The most dangerous scams users fell for, according to cyber security firm Bitdefender, were those that played upon the natural curiosity and emotions of humans.
A scam dubbed ‘guess who viewed your profile’ which started circulating in February on social networking site Facebook was the most popular, or rather, widely disseminated scam.
The scam promised users the ability to see who viewed their profile. Cyber-crooks typically claimed the social network had released an “official” app that reveals stalkers, ex-lovers, peekers and profile viewers. In February, a new ‘Profile Viewers’ add-on dropped Trojan.JS.Carfekab.A to spy in victims’ browsers. Carfekab was also capable of posting messages on users’ behalf and sending their personal data to the attackers’ servers, according to Bitdefender Labs.
“I think users believe that these are legitimate apps. This is social engineering at its most dangerous – a challenging mental game that pushes the right psychological buttons,” stated Catalin Cosoi, Chief Security Strategist at Bitdefender.
“The baits have changed over time, stalkers, peekers, admirers, overly attached girlfriends and exes haunting you, but the reason this scam works is simple: human nature.”
The second most circulated scam was also one which played upon human emotion.
‘Naked videos of Facebook friends’ debuted with a malicious campaign that tricked more than 1,000 people into installing a Trojan that promised naked videos of their friends.
Though security experts, companies and tech-savvy users guard against Facebook cyber-attacks, many unwary users continue to fall victim to scams on the social network every day, with veteran users still falling for the same old e-threats.
Bitdefender advises users to be cautious of future Facebook scams and keep their operating system, antivirus solution and other software updated. Users should also avoid completing Facebook surveys, sharing or “liking” websites to view a video, or installing updates via viral videos.
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