While the advantages of social networks are obvious after a short period of use, the risks resulting from them are generally disregarded by their users, according to TrustPort. Both the loss of private personal data and the possibility of malware infection are at stake.
Facebook has recently been the scene of a massive surge in fraudulent groups and social engineering. The dubious magic of these fraudulent groups lies especially in their name, promising everyone joining the group an attractive new feature. An example of such a scam is called Stalker Catcher, widespread on Facebook in many variants.
Users are lured to the group on the pretext that they will see exactly who and when is visiting their personal profile. The alleged instructions for feature activation result in nothing more and nothing less than sending group invitation to all contacts of the victim. Due to privacy protection, Facebook does not allow tracking of browsing profiles, neither as a standard feature, nor as a possible feature of additional applications.
The numbers of users, who voluntarily join fraudulent groups and send invitations to all their contacts, are strikingly high. Due to this carelessness, people behind the scams are easily gaining large databases of contacts. These databases can be later sold to other cybercriminals, and used for sending spam or for further phishing scams. Some of the fraudulent groups explicitly invite the users to install a certain application, which is even more dangerous. The risk of malware infection should never be underestimated.
For safer use of Facebook, users should follow two basic principles. First, do not trust ostentatious promises, included in a title of a group. Before joining a group, it is good to consider, how realistic the promises are and whether they are worth one’s attention at all. Second, use regularly updated antivirus and antispyware software. In the worst case of accidental installing of fraudulent software, the security software is there to stop the process.