Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, talks to ad partners about targeted advertising.
It is no exaggeration to say that online social networking sites have revolutionized the Internet. They are at the forefront of the Web 2.0 movement, and Facebook is one of the few leading the movement. Every day, hundreds of people join the website to reconnect with old acquaintances and make new friends.
But helping people connect with each other is just one of the qualities of Facebook. Another important element is that Facebook allows app developers to create small programs called apps (short for apps) and use Facebook as a platform. In a sense, Facebook acts like an operating system - it provides the basis for small applications that use the resources of a social network.
Perhaps the most important resource is the Facebook user base. App creation can be time-consuming and difficult; however, the Facebook community includes millions of people, and this gives developers a built-in audience for their work. Without this audience, developers could work long hours creating software that no one sees or uses. But the nature of the Facebook community helps developers to virally spread their work. Facebook members pick up the app when they see it on a friend's profile, and soon thousands of people are enjoying it.
Why do developers create apps? Some developers just want to create a fun app for people to enjoy. The app improves the user experience on the social network. Others create programs that are part of a marketing strategy - they hope the app will nudge users to buy a specific product or subscribe to a service. Some people create apps that collect data to create targeted ads. And some use the open nature of Facebook to create malware or run scams to trick users or cause harm.
How can these scams be avoided? But what if you become a victim of one of them?
- Facebook scam
- Facebook Fraud Warning Signs
- Recovery from fraud
Adrienne Felt, a computer security student, created an application that exposed some of the Facebook security vulnerabilities.
Facebook apps come in dozens of variations with hundreds of examples in each category. There are quizzes, games, tools, and other apps that let you rank everything from your favorite albums to the celebrities you would like to meet. Each of these apps requires you to install a few lines of code to your Facebook profile. From your point of view, all you have to do is click a button on the page, indicate that you accept the user agreement, and install the application.
This was a problem with some early Facebook apps. Most applications require access to some of your information to work. Early applications often accessed much more information than they needed. This meant that the developers of these applications could access a lot of personal information about users. Facebook tried to put an end to this and demanded that developers only request access to the information that is necessary for the application to work properly.
Facebook Fraud Warning Signs
There are several indicators that can usually indicate fraud. The two main red flags indicating that something behind the scenes is going on is asking for a password or credit card information. Scammers collect passwords or credit card numbers and use this information to take advantage of victims. These requests may seem completely innocent in the context of an application, but they should set off alarm bells in your head. Again, do a little work and research the app before you decide.
If the app is trying to redirect you to a new page, take a look at the domain name of that page. Some scammers are smart enough to mock a real Facebook page asking for your password. If the domain name seems suspicious, you should not enter a password. Pop-up messages advising you to download or install an additional app after you've already started the process are another potential sign of malware. Installing these programs can infect your computer with a virus.
Sometimes one of your friends becomes a victim of a scam and you will receive messages that appear to be from him or her. These messages usually ask you to follow the link contained in the note. You must send a message to your friend to confirm that this is a valid link. Your friend's profile may have been hacked and the message was sent to you automatically. If the wording of the message seems strange or unlike your friend's usual style, this is another indicator that something dubious is going on.
The way scammers manipulate victims has a special name: social engineering. While it is true that malicious hackers known as crackerssometimes they pierce the protection of the system with the help of various software tricks and hacks, it is also common for people to voluntarily refuse information. The scammer just needs to make the victim want to share. There are several common ways scammers get people to share:
- They appeal to the victim's vanity with a message that suggests the victim may be seen in a compromising or funny way on a particular website. The website link actually leads the victim to download the malware.
- They promise to get rich quick.
- They entice the victim to provide a credit card number and then commit credit card fraud.
Video Has Killed the Facebook Star
One of the many scams that spread on Facebook was a ploy to force users to visit a fake video site and download malware disguised as a video player. Once a user's profile was compromised, the malware sent messages to that user's friends, claiming that the recipient might behave strangely in the video. Nosy friends visited the site, downloaded malware, and the cycle continued.
Recovery from fraud
If you are the victim of a scam, there are several things you can do. Your actions depend on what the fraudster did to you.
If you divulge your password, you should send a message to your friends to alert them that your account has been hacked. This can prevent your friends from following links that could jeopardize other accounts. Change your password to one that is hard to guess — it is best to use a string of unrelated characters. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts or services - otherwise, you can make more of your information vulnerable. You can report fraud to Facebook through the Help Center.
Facebook provides a form for victims of phishing attacks.Phishing refers to the practice of tricking people into leaking private information, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers. One of the most common phishing scams known by two names: fraud in Nigeria or fraud 419 .
The main scam goes like this: the person sending the message claims that he or she has a large amount of money that is delayed in another country. With your help, this person will be able to free up money and give you huge rewards. But in order to get money, a person first needs some of your money. This is just a cover - the person is really trying to steal your money. If you see a message like this, you should use the form provided by Facebook to report the issue to them.
If you are a US citizen and have been the victim of identity theft, you should file a police report, contact your bank, and notify the anti-fraud departments of major credit bureaus. You can also report financial fraud or identity theft to other agencies. In the United States, this includes:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Internet Crime Complaints Center (IC3)