Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hackers on Social Media

They are bold and nothing is sacred. For the sake of spamming people with shoe ads, they'll steal your password, post on your page and send messages with virus links to everyone in your friend list. If you think that's all they'll do, guess again. They'll actually pretend to be you and talk to people on your list trying to convince them that the bogus links are safe to click on.

What you are seeing is a massive undertaking that isn't the work of just one person. No, they have entire companies of people doing this. Mostly they are in third world countries, but some actually wind up being in the US, Canada, or UK. They are constantly developing new ways to try and trick you into accepting their spy and malware. They are the worlds most awful rip off artists. And they aren't afraid to pretend to be anyone at all, including your own mother.

There are a few failing points to them that the size of the undertaking may cause them to miss. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself and exploit their own mistakes to do so.

1: Change your password regularly. And don't be simple about it. Use at least one capital letter, some numbers and symbols. Write them down and keep them next to your computer. After all, it's not a physical burglar in your home you need to worry about, it's the online monster. You should do this for all your passwords because that's the way of today. Mixed up passwords are harder for their algorithms to figure out. You should change your password every month to keep things hard to catch. So don't just use your dog's name. Use your dogs name like this 1960Fido@$^.  Facebook's password allows for this for a reason. Or mix even further 19Fido@$^60. However you can handle but make sure it's not simple or just one kind of symbols.

2: NEVER NEVER NEVER click on that! When you get sent a link from "tinyurl" or something that suggests there's a photo of you or something "cute" to see, don't click on it. They will get very clever in saying things that make it sound very personal and even endearing, but what they miss is that Facebook often shows previews of where a link will go if it's legit. Try it. Post a youtube link on your page. What does it do? It shows a pic right? The links they send don't show any previews ever because that would give them away. Fact is, no one should ever send a blind link to you without being very specific about why they think it fits your particular interests and without telling you straight what it's about. With that information missing or being very vague, it's a virus 99.9% of the time. You should immediately delete the message or report it as spam. After all, if there's an image someone wants you to see, what's preventing them from just sharing it with you directly?

3: When they try to talk to you: They will do their vague best to seem like your friend, but they are missing some valuable information:
  A: They have no idea what your actual "friend" relationship is to that person. They don't know if you ever met in person, ever talked on the phone, or anything.
  B: Apparently they don't have time to study the person they are copying. They don't know where that person lives, what they do, or anything about them that you might know. Even if you don't know, you can trip them up pretty easily. Here's what you do:

Ask them questions. If you do know something about them, ask something only that friend would remember. If not, fake them out.

"Hey, great to hear from you! Do you remember what we talked about on the phone last week?"

Now if you didn't talk on the phone, the proper answer would be "We've never spoken on the phone." Anything else is a red flag unless you actually did and they try to say yes (believe it or not this has happened). Now if they assigned a bot to the account, you will trip it up ten ways to Sunday because it's not programmed to answer those questions. It will just repeat it's programmed dialogue.

Sadly, when someone's account get's hacked, they may get blocked out of their own account, leaving you little recourse but to drop them from your friends list like a hot rock. That person will have to go through the report process to fix their account or get a new account altogether. Don't be afraid to get clever in figuring out if that person is an imposter. You may be protecting everyone in your friends list.

And always always always, be wary of non-friends sending vague "hi" messages to you. Block them. Anyone who sends you a message should be detailed and forward about why they are contacting you.

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