As recent news has shown, Facebook isn’t all fun and games. The world’s most popular social network is prime fishing ground for cybercrooks, so it’s crucial that you know their tactics. Here are 10 of the most frequently used Facebook hacking scams—and the software and know-how you need to outsmart them.
It’s been a while since Koobface made the rounds on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone. This worm is a viral video that appears on users’ news feeds. However, they can only access it by “upgrading” their Flash Player in the included link; in reality, they’re downloading a worm.
What you should do: Never accept third-party downloads from an unverified source, especially a Facebook post.
2: Keylogging Attempts
One of the easiest ways to gain access to your social media or other accounts is to log all your keystrokes and capture your login credentials.
3: Phishing Scams
Facebook is filled with classic phishing scams, like a link to a shopping or banking website that mimics a legitimate one so users input their login credentials. Facebook tries to delete these kinds of scams, but their manpower is limited.
4: Social Engineering Exploits
Social engineering scams take advantage of human behavior. For instance, a fake app may request users’ details (such as their birthday and city where they were born) to pass a verification check. The goal is to steal their login information.
What you should do: Always question why someone may want personally identifying information. Only give out personal details (such as your address, date of birth, and cell phone number) to those you absolutely trust.
5: The Email-Facebook Takedown Maneuver
If a cybercrook has gained access to your email, the floodgates of online destruction have opened. They may target your social media accounts with a simple email password reset to lock you out of your account.
What you should do: Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). You’ll need to input a text or emailed code every time you access Facebook from a new location, but you’ll prevent this attack.
6: De-masking Saved Passwords
You’ve probably been prompted by Google Chrome or your browser of choice to save your login passwords in the browser. This is fine if the only person accessing the computer is you, but never accept a password-save prompt from a public or work computer. Although saved passwords are usually marked with asterisks instead of letters to prevent manual inspection, there simple hacks like Google Developer Tools can expose or “de-mask” your login credentials.
What you should do: Never save a Facebook login credential or any other password in a browser on a shared computer.
You’ve probably come across many sites that offer a button to create an account using your Gmail or Facebook login. While these can save time, don’t. Instead, always use the traditional email and password account creation/login process. Tabnapping occurs when the registration page redirects you to is fake and steals your real Facebook credentials. (NOTE: this type of faster login is also how teven genuine third-party apps gain access to your friends’ list and posts.)
8: The Low-Tech Account Takeover
This one may seem simple but it’s serious. If you access Facebook from a public computer, make sure you log out when you are done! The bad habit of not logging out means someone could take over your account with the password reset procedure.
What you should do: Log out when you’re done using Facebook, even on your home computer, to get into the habit.
9: Packet Sniffing
If you’re using public WiFi, such as in a coffee shop or airport, it’s relatively easy for cybercrooks to capture your packets (the requests you send to the server when accessing a website, and the data it sends back). Usually, they’ll have to decrypt them to inspect their contents, but this isn’t hard for some scammers.
What you should do: Use a VPN whenever accessing Facebook or other sites from a public network. Bitdefender has great cybersecurity features and comes with a built-in VPN service.
10: Mobile Spy Software
Mobile espionage software lets hackers steal a user’s information through things like keylogging and login screenshot capture. It can capture Facebook login credentials and let hackers take over accounts.
What you should do: Never enable the “show password” function. Additionally, use a mobile security software such as AVG to root out any malware lurking on your device.
Don’t Fall Prey!
Hackers have many avenues for hacking your Facebook account by gaining your login credentials. Users should have internet security software on all devices, always log out after using web accounts, and avoid giving away sensitive information to strangers online.