The past two years witnessed numerous Internet security horrors; a few on the social media front leading security experts to argue that social media is going to be new targets for cyber criminals. A recent data revealed that hackers are using popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to launch targeted phishing and malware campaigns.
The Bot Army- Favored Weapons of Hackers
Cyber crooks rely a lot on bot armies to successfully carry out their malicious (phishing or malware) campaigns. Internet bots are fashioned to look like credible social media profiles; usually having relevant popular content and viral videos that can reach many users.
There are two different types of Internet bots:
A bot account – This account is created and operated remotely via a software.
A sock puppet - This is a bogus account operated by a person impersonating someone else.
Once the bot army is ready, the hacker will decide the target. Attacks could focus on specific organizations, a company's customers, or the general public through trendjacking. After choosing a method of attack, the bots are connected to the targeted victims by filling their profiles with comical images or attention-grabbing content.
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Malware or Phishing
Now the hacker gets to make a choice : whether to launch a phishing campaign or a malware attack? Phishing campaign compromises organizations and their customers via front door while malware attack compromises customers via back door. Though the methods are different, either way the enterprise is breached via social media.
If the hacker decides to deploy a phishing campaign, he or she will create a phishing site disguised as a credible site. This website is then shared with the users, and they are asked to share critical information if they decide to click the web link.
To start a malware assault, a hacker will hide the malware (bought or created) on sites that can download without user's knowledge. A shortened link to the masked malware is shared with users over social media. Victims that click the corrupt link consequently download the malware and the hacker can now access the system. You do not want either of the scenarios taking place to you or businesses you use.
If an infected user connects to an enterprise network, hackers will be able to access information from anywhere across the organization.
Keeping Social Media a Safer Place
Never assume that you will not be tricked in any of the social media sites you use. Eight in every ten individuals are duped by one of the above mentioned schemes. As a matter of fact, one third of the data breaches last year were from social media.
Be wary of what you share on your social networking sites; never post personal information that could be used against you. Educate yourself on how to avoid phishing mails and think twice before clicking a link sent by someone.
Get a strong antivirus software for all your devices to safegurad your information and your gadgets. Virus protection is paramount in today's malware-ridden world. There are many options to choose from; one of the top favorites is Comodo AntiVirus for Android. Stay one step ahead of the cyber crooks before they can lay their hands on you.