Millions of people fell for Facebook scams in 2014. Though security experts, companies and tech-savvy users guard against Facebook cyber attacks, many unwary users continue to fall victim to scams on the social network every day, with veteran users still falling for the same old e-threats.
Bitdefender has named the seven most dangerous Facebook scams and malware targeting social networks in 2014.
1. Guess who viewed your profile (February 2014)
The most popular Facebook scam promises users the ability to see who viewed their profile. Cyber-crooks typically claim the social network has released an “official” app that reveals stalkers, ex-lovers, peekers and profile viewers. In February, a new “Profile Viewers’ add-on dropped Trojan.JS.Carfekab.A to spy in victims’ browsers. Carfekab was also capable of posting messages on users’ behalf and sending their personal data to the attackers’ servers, according to Bitdefender Labs.
“I think users believe that these are legitimate apps. This is social engineering at its most dangerous – a challenging mental game that pushes the right psychological buttons,” stated Catalin Cosoi, Chief Security Strategist at Bitdefender. “The baits have changed over time, stalkers, peekers, admirers, overly attached girlfriends and exes haunting you, but the reason this scam works is simple: human nature.”
2. Naked videos of Facebook friends (March 2014)
This spring debuted with a malicious campaign that tricked more than 1,000 people into installing a Trojan that promised naked videos of their friends. The countries with the most detected infections were the UK, Italy, France Germany and Romania. The malware was detected by Bitdefender as Trojan.FakeFlash.A.
3. Scams in Facebook ads (March 2014)
In March 2014, Bitdefender revealed how scammers tout cheap pharmaceuticals, designer replicas and other products on Facebook’s ad platform. The study on 50,000 domains showed that some of the most suspicious ads promote high-value prizes in the form of electronics and cars.
4. Sad video of woman dying during a fight (June 2014)
In June 2014, a gruesome video was flooding Facebook to spread money-making surveys. The fake video of a woman being beaten to death was used as bait to arouse users’ interest in morbid images.
5. Funny videos drop Trojans (July 2014)
Summer came with a new malicious campaign that started with an apparent funny video of a Facebook friend. After clicking on the video, users were brought to a malicious YouTube page that redirected to a malicious Flash Player.exe. The Trojan wasn’t fun at all, as it was able to grab huge amounts of data from victims’ browsers.
6. “Girl killed by husband’ scam (August 2014)
A new viral video lured thousands of Facebook users with a fake tape of a girl killed by her husband because she kissed another man, was revealed in August. The bait was purported footage of an Asian woman about to get her head chopped off. Psychologists warn horrid videos will continue to circulate on Facebook, particularly targeting teenagers, who may have less empathy for victims of violence.
7. Emma Watson Trojan (October 2014)
The alleged sexy videos of the British actress dropped Trojans rather than actual pictures. The scam came right after a nude photo leak targeting Watson turned out to be a hoax created by Rantic Marketing.