3 ways hackers are hijacking Facebook

With over 750 million users, there are currently more people signed up to use the social network than living in the United States.

While Facebook can create “it’s a small world after all” feeling, having that many people in one place, makes Facebook an ideal target for spammers and other crooks looking to utilize the social networking platform for their own personal gains.

From malware to hijacked accounts, Facebook can be a dangerous place for consumers. Here are the Top 3 Facebook threats to look out for:

1. Fake notifications

Fake notifications appear in the same place legitimate notifications appear, on the top left-hand side of your Facebook homepage. Notifications might convey what appears to be a real message, such as “Sally Jones posted something on your wall” or “John Smith tagged a video of you,” however if other aspects of the notification, such as the icon to the left of the message, look unusual, it’s probably a fake notification.

If you click a notification like this, it will most likely take you to a page asking for you to authorize an application. If you reach this screen do not select “Allow.” This is a scam. Visit your profile directly and click the “x” located on the fake post to “Report Spam.”

2. Nasty chats

Shortened links used to disguise malware can appear anywhere on Facebook, however earlier this year a number of these links popped up where you might least expect them—it your Facebook chat window.

These alerts might contain an enticing message, such as “hey is this your ex?? lol” followed by a link or something in a foreign language, making it tempting to click the link, with the goal of attaining additional information. Think before you click—you never know where a link can lead!

3. Hijacked Facebook pages

Personal accounts aren’t the only aspect of your Facebook experience that can be threatened. A bit of social engineering and a simple flaw in Facebook’s Page administrator section could allow anyone to hijack your company or organization’s Facebook page.

It is important to remember that anyone you choose to add as an administrator of your Facebook page, not only has the ability to change every aspect of your Page and post as your company, he or she also has the ability to remove you as an admin of your own Page. Be very careful about who you choose to give administrative privileges.

Facebook is a great way to connect with friends, family and consumers around the world, but it is important to exercise the same care you use with the security of your own website.

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Alan Wlasuk is a managing partner of 403 Web Security, a full service, secure Web application development company. A Bell Labs Fellow award-winner with 18+ years of experience building secure web applications, Alan is an expert in Web security - from evaluation to Web development and remediation.