MARCH 28, 2014
Your regular source of security updates from TrendLabsSM
In This Issue

Security Spotlight
Connecting Online and Real-World Threats

Security for Home Users
The (Cybercriminal) Lure of Social Media

Security for Business
Separating Your Work from Your Personal Life

Security for Home Users

The (Cybercriminal) Lure of Social Media

No social media platform is safe from cybercriminals.”

Cybercriminals are capitalizing on the buzz surrounding the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 to unleash various online threats. These incidents only highlight the role social media play when victimizing users.

Cybercriminals and Social Media

We came across several claims that the still-missing aircraft has been found—with video evidence. Those who wished to view the “video” were asked to share the link with friends. As usual, even after doing as asked, they landed on fake Facebook or YouTube pages. All they got, being part of the scam now plaguing social networking feeds.

Social networks remain powerful tools that cybercriminals use and abuse. The sheer number of social network members—Facebook alone boasts of 1.23 billion active monthly users as of December 2013—makes them an appealing platform to get victims and inadvertent accomplices (through reposting). It doesn’t help that one of the advantages of using social networks—ease of sharing—can easily be exploited.

Threats and Lures in Your Feed

No social media platform is safe from cybercriminals. Fake movie-streaming sites often cropped up on Tumblr and WordPress. Twitter and Instagram, meanwhile, are often riddled with “free followers” scams.

So how can you end up as victims? Cybercriminals rely on social engineering to convince people to do their malicious bidding. Some of the most popular lures they use are celebrity news, current events, or even promos. Once hooked, you may unknowingly share a malicious link or download a malicious file onto your computer or mobile device.

Vigilance Against Social Media Threats

Cybercriminals view any online activity as an opportunity to get more victims. You can protect your data and devices from all kinds of threats by keeping these best practices in mind:

  • Avoid clicking shortened links from unknown accounts. These can lead to malicious sites.

  • Only add people you actually know to your list of friends or followers. Only following verified accounts is also helpful, especially since fake and possibly malicious accounts run rampant in social networks.

  • Scrutinize promos and deals. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are.

  • Don’t rely on social media for updates on current events as this is a common social engineering bait. Visit reputable news sites instead.

  • Think twice before sharing photos and links. You may end up spamming people’s feeds if these turn out to be malicious.

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