Facebook: 5 ways to give cyber-criminals your details

This article was written by Andrew Parker. Andrew is a Search Engine Optimisation expert at Dreamscape Design. Dreamscape Design is a design agency based on the outskirts of Coventry, Warwickshire. They provide web design, print and online marketing solutions and are dedicated to building solutions that will make a difference to your business and provide you with a return on your investment.

Facebook is a lovely bliss-free online utopia. A magical online haven where you can spend hours ‘poking’ sexy friends, pressing a button labelled ‘like’ to express admiration of  witty comments, and generally having a whale of a time in the safety of your own home, right? Wrong.

Those cyber-criminals and spammers are at it again, ruining it for the rest of us. Alas, you now risk an injured computer or crippled bank account by simply clicking on stuff. Here are things you should do on Facebook if you want to just hand your personal information (and even bank details) over to evil Lex Luthor-esque cyber-criminals lurking on Facebook;

  1. Accepting friend requests from everyone – especially if they have dreamy eyes, voluptuous curves or washboard abs. Again, receiving and accepting a “new friend request” from a new person in your email box. The more the merrier!
  2. Use a short password that is a pet or your fave TV show etc. No-one will ever guess that! Use the same password on Facebook that you use in other places on the web – as it will be easy to remember.
  3. Help your poor friend who is stranded in Nigeria and needs $500 for a plane ticket home! Nobody likes to be stuck at an airport – as anyone who has visited Healthrow can back-up. You’ll feel awful if you can’t help him/her. Scam? No way! This is one of my Facebook friends. Why did he/she use the term “cell phone” instead of “mobile”? Dunno. Probably not thinking straight due to the stress of being stuck in Nigeria?
  4. Click on enticing links such as “I just got the Dislike button, so now I can dislike all of your dumb posts lol!!” or “Student attacked his teacher and nearly killed him” with a link attached to it. They are probably brilliant. Virus? Nah, it was posted by one of my friends, so it is definitely safe to click on any links.
  5. Open an attachment from an email that appears to be from Facebook saying the company reset your password. It looks like it’s from Facebook, so it obviously must be correct.

Please do NOT follow these frankly idiotic suggestions above…or you could have your face hijacked and a meeting with the Police Central e-crime Unit booked. Do follow these basic guidelines though…

  1. Ensure that you only accept friend requests from people you know and accept them within Facebook.
  2. Use a long password (that is different to other passwords you use) with unique characters that is not obvious to your friends.
  3. Be wary of scams.
  4. Do not click or open suspicious looking links or attachments.
  5. Check the Facebook security page to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest news on viruses to be aware of on Facebook…and tell your friends: http://www.facebook.com/security

Now you can get back to all that poking! Enjoy.

Andrew Parker has contributed many articles on computer forensics for his media work for digital forensics company Intaforensics.

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