Hackers have long utilized social networks as their haven to spreading spam and malware. It is almost inevitable if you use Facebook, that you will run across some type of spam or obtain malware from the social network giant.
Did you know there are several easy ways to avoid malware and spam when using Facebook? Not only can you take proactive measures to protect yourself from the latest and greatest spam and malware campaigns on Facebook, but you can be of assistance to the opposition of such threats by reporting such activity.
At one time, email was at the forefront of being the popular means for hackers and cybercrooks to spread spam and malware on the Internet. Now, with the popularity of social networks such as Facebook, accounting for more than 1 billion users worldwide, the task of sharing spam and malware-love by Internet crooks is as easy as stealing candy from a baby.
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As a clear example of how effective online crooks have become at spreading malware and spam on Facebook, researchers at U.C. Riverside studied 12,000 Facebook users' pages finding that nearly half of them were exposed to some type of "social malware" (socware). Many of the Facebook scams during the study were ones using the old bait method of offering items like a 'free iPad' from a Friend's Facebook post.
How can you recognize and avoid malware and spam on Facebook?
Probably the most difficult thing to decipher on Facebook, when it involves a message sent from a Facebook friend, is whether or not the message actually came from your friend or some hacker who has compromised your friend's account. In most cases you can do yourself some due diligence by first looking for offers that boast freebies or some type of big savings 'if you click here'. Usually, these bogus or hacker-derived posts from a Facebook friend contain a link to an external website where it asks you to fill out some form with personal information. Many times these types of offers use the keywords: Free, OMG, Wow, Deal, etc. Remember, Facebook allows any type of link to be posted without any type of initial filtering. This means Facebook users, or hacked Facebook accounts, may post shortened URLs where the possibilities of the link redirecting you to a malicious or phishing site are extremely high.
There are also tools available, aside from running antivirus or antispyware software on your computer, which help social network users protect their identities. Although continually running and keeping an updated copy of antivirus or antispyware software is always a good idea, nothing is better than becoming educated on what to avoid on a social network as vast as Facebook is.
WHNT News, in a news report video below, recently reported on how people should beware of Facebook malware and spam while providing suggestions on protecting yourself.
How can you report malware, spam or hacked account issues on Facebook?
If you ever suspect a post on Facebook is suspicious or contains a malicious/spam link, you can always report it to Facebook through their security pages or simply clicking the 'X' that appears in the top right of any post. Additionally, you may report photos or videos by clicking 'Report This Photo' or 'Report Video'. For anything related to an account being hacked, you may visit Facebook's Security Section http://www.facebook.com/help/security to report those issues.