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How Cyber Criminals Make Use of Social Media

How Cyber Criminals Make Use of Social Media March 19, 2018Leave a comment

Cyber security is becoming growingly important and relevant with each passing day. With technology advancing at a rapid rate, more and more people use the social media platforms for entertainment, making like-minded friends and staying in touch with old friends and family. People engage with people from all across the globe here. At McAfee Internet Security support team though, we have noticed that people are too busy in building relationships or exchanging opinion across social media, often missing out on the potential cyber threats that it comes with.

So today, we throw some light on where our vulnerabilities lie as and when we use social media.

Personalized spams

Many networks let the users have automated access with scripts. The scripts can be used for spamming as they can crawl the entire network for locating email addresses. These scripts can extract email addresses as well as names. In this way, it becomes possible to find out specific information about an individual, like his hobby or preference.

Our McAfee activation team has observed that often these emails are crafted in relevance to the information your give out about yourself in social media. Sometimes they will even mention who among your friends are already using it. No doubt this makes the email seem more and more credulous in your eyes.

Identity theft

All social media platforms offer an used id and a password for you to create an account. This increases the risk of phishing attacks – a scamming practice that fools the user into giving away his user id and password. The cybercriminals are forever improvising these techniques – they may offer a free service or ask you to sign up to win a lucky draw. At McAfee customer service, we have seen that most of them declare that they are an authorized service and direct the user to a fake page.

Once an identity is stolen this way, it can be used to attack the contacts of the user. Believing the message or link to be from their friend, many users run the risk of falling prey to it.

Malware attacks

Malware does not spread only via infected links and emails, but also through social media platforms. Twitter and Facebook are commonly used to spread these viruses. A lot many of such security threats are found in shortened URLs. At McAfee support, we warn our clients in advance sometimes, that these links make it hard for any user to realize whether they are posting to a legitimate or a malicious website.

And it does not end here. You may have heard of doxing, where the attacker leaks the private information of a victim (including his full contact details) online. This is a common way a victim is stalked or harassed. Similarly, when you excitedly post on social media about your upcoming US trip, the information can be used by a criminal to calculate how long you will be away from home. This way, your social media activity can pave way for even a home invasion.

So at McAfee helpline, along with advising to keep your antivirus updated and not click on suspicious links and attachments, we also advise to use social media cautiously. In today’s world of advanced technology, a little precaution can go a long way in safeguarding you and your dear ones!

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