Facebook side effects

Social media makes you think you have friends (Facebook) and professional skills (LinkedIn) and you are funny and brilliant (YouTube). Without concern, you pay for this virtual popularity with information, images and Geolocalization. Have you ever ask yourself what’s the price you are paying? What happens to the part of your life you freely give to Facebook and other social networks?

By simply visiting Facebook, you potentially expose yourself to viruses and malware. Nothing new under the sun? Let’s see if you know some of the worst tricks used by criminals to make you take unintended action or steal your data spying on your pc.


1. Clickjacking Threats

Clickjacking is a malicious technique of tricking Web users into clicking, with manipulation on something different from what they perceive they are clicking.

This is achieved by overlaying legitimate Facebook pages with malicious content from a third party site. For example, you may click on a button that is supposed to take you to a specific page but instead the action enables your webcam or infects your computer with malicious code downloading a malware to your pc.

How to prevent it?

  • To begin with, avoid clicking on your links in your Facebook feed.
  • Be careful of suspicious headlines, if it seems impossible, strange, above the line or dodgy, it is probably not real news. Do not click on it and analyze the source. Is it reliable? For breaking and the latest news read credible websites.
  • Restrict your circle of friends and make your profile private.
  • To help others, report suspicious sites to Facebook Admin.
  • Install an Antivirus on your pc.


2. Phishing Exploits

“Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication” (Wikipedia).

The goal of phishing is to trick the recipient into taking the attacker’s desired action, such as providing login credentials or entering identifying information into a fraudulent website. These websites may contain malicious code that executes on the user’s local machine when a link is clicked from a phishing email to open the website.

How to prevent it?

  • One of the most basic ways of preventing a phishing attack is to check the URL in the address bar to be sure you are actually entering in the real website and not in a fake one.
  • Look for the padlock icon to ensure it is a secure page (https) and if you’re not sure, click on the padlock icon to confirm the site’s identity is verified as Facebook.com.
  • Do not click on a Facebook page that promises a prize, a gift, or something astounding, new or unusual.


3. The Facebook Team

Some Facebook users have reported receiving messages, seemingly from Facebook’s security team, telling them their accounts have been suspended.  In reality, the messages have been sent out by fraudsters posing as Facebook’s real security team, with the intention of phishing for credentials.

A typical message will ask you to take some action urgently, for example, clicking on an attachment or link to update your account or to respond to a query. The links lead to malware sites and any attachments are packaged with malware that infects your PC.

How to prevent it?

  • These messages, purportedly from Facebook, are normally written in poor grammar or contain subtle grammatical errors that should trigger alarms.
  • If you receive a suspicious message from the “Facebook Team”, delete it immediately without clicking anything and report the user to Facebook.


4. Rogue Applications

Apps are common targets for clickjacking, malware and phishing. Rogue apps look like the real thing and people click “Allow” without thinking twice about it. Before you know it, your Facebook account has been hijacked and used to spread spam to all your friends.

Facebook is a huge target for the new generation of con artists, because there’s such a large user base that can be scammed without any face-to-face contact.

 How to prevent it?

  • You should completely avoid third party applications, but that’s a bit drastic.
  • Be very selective about the applications you install. Stick with well-known developers and always check very carefully before allowing an app access to your Facebook account.
  • Steer clear of any apps that request total access to your Facebook account, access to your chat messages and the right to manage pages and events. Spammers need access to the latter two to effectively spam your entire network.


5. Malware Attack

Malware and viruses can be injected into your computer via Facebook using different methods. Recently pornographic videos and images have left hundred of Facebook users embarrassed, forcing them to clarify to friends that they had nothing to do with it. It started with a message: “Watch urgently, it’s your video and”. Click on the link means being spammed with tons of pornographic material in the timeline or in the inbox.

 How to prevent it?

  • Do not click on links or chat message links that aren’t from your friends.
  • Update your privacy settings so that you can’t receive such messages.
  • If you are a windows user, keep your antivirus up-to-date.


Social Life provides a lot of networking opportunities; however, beware of risks and protect yourself and your contacts.  It’s your duty. Become your own data-security manager, choose the best solution for you and keep up with current threat news. Don’t be an ostrich, be a Monkey: beware, learn and react intelligently and decide for yourself.

Mon-K Team

Mon-K Data Protection EU is a private British and Italian technological Scaleup company based in London and Milan. It is based on an idea of Gianfranco Ilacqua and Paolo Ferrari – two entrepreneurs who were born in Italy but gained experience and studied at an international level – with the aim of creating technological solutions capable of protecting and encrypting data and information.

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