Do you dream of lounging with an umbrella drink on a sunny beach, hiking by a pristine lake in the cool mountains, or leisurely strolling through a world class museum? As you begin to make summer vacation plans, much of it planned and reserved via the Internet, here are a few scams to be aware of:
Fake vacation rentals
Private vacation rentals are growing in popularity and it’s easy to find one these days through portals like Airbnb, HomeAway, and Craigslist. A typical scam starts with attractive pictures of a property in a desired location. The phony landlord, who is really a scam artist, requires an up-front deposit on the rental that is typically sent by wire transfer. When the happy family arrives at the destination, it either doesn’t exist, it’s not at all like it was described, or it is not available for rental. It may even belong to someone else, who lives there and has no knowledge of the transaction.
How to protect yourself from vacation rental scams
Don’t be fooled by pretty pictures. Photoshop is amazing and an artist can do all kinds of tricks with it. Ask the property owner to send you additional photos. You can even look it up on Google’s Street View to make sure the property and address actually exists.
Fake Flash Player updates fool Facebook users.
Facebook users have fallen victim to a recycled scam, and we want to make sure that all of our readers are fore-warned. Cybercrooks use social engineering tactics to fool people into clicking, and when the bait comes from a trusted friend on Facebook, it works very well.
Here’s how the scam works – your friend sends you an interesting video clip; in the latest iteration you are tagged and lots of other friends are also tagged – this makes it seem more trustworthy. The video stops a few seconds in and when you click on it, a message that your Flash Player needs to be updated for it to continue comes up. Since you have probably seen messages from Adobe to update your Flash Player, this does not raise any red flags. Being conscientious about updating your software, as well as curious about what happens next in the video, you click the link. That’s when the fun really begins.
The fake Flash Player is actually the downloader of a Trojan that infects your account. Security researcher Mohammad Faghani, told The Guardian, …” once it infects someone’s account, it re-shares the clip while tagging up to 20 of their friends – a tactic that helps it spread faster than previous Facebook-targeted malware that relied on one-to-one messaging on Facebook.”
How to protect yourself from Facebook video scams
Don’t fall for it. Videos that are supposedly sensational or shocking are also suspect. Be very cautious when clicking.
Does your friend really watch this stuff? If it seems out of character for your friend to share something like that with you, beware. Their account may have been infected by malware, and it’s possible they don’t even know this is being shared. Do them a favor and tell them about it.
Be careful of shortened links. The BBB says that scammers use link-shortening services to disguise malicious links. Don’t fall for it. If you don’t recognize the link destination, don’t click.
Use up-to-date antivirus software like Avast Free Antivirus with full real-time protection.
Report suspicious activity to Facebook. If your account was compromised, make sure to change your password.
Posting a privacy notice on your Facebook feed does nothing to keep your updates, photos, or videos private. You need to tweak the settings yourself.
You may have noticed a legal-sounding statement being shared on people’s Facebook News Feed lately. As we explained in the blog, Posting a privacy notice on Facebook is useless, this statement does nothing to protect users’ privacy. However, it’s great that Facebook users are concerned about these things – it demonstrates a leap forward in awareness and a desire to protect yourself. That’s why we are sharing the three major areas you need to be aware of when it comes to protecting your privacy:
- 1. Your posts
- 2. Your profile
- 3. Your apps
Your posts control who can see what you share when you post from the top of your News Feed or your profile. This tool remembers the audience you shared with the last time you posted something and uses the same audience when you share again unless you change it.
Your profile includes information about you like Work and Education, Places You’ve Lived, Family and Relationships, etc. To see how others view your profile, go to your profile and select View As… on the menu in the lower right corner of your cover photo. If there is information that you don’t want the world to see, then click Update Info at the bottom of the cover photo of your profile to make sure it’s up-to-date and shared with who you want.
Your apps are what you’ve logged into with your Facebook identity. More and more websites and applications, including Avast, are allowing you to do that, because it’s more convenient than creating a new username and password.
When you choose to use your Facebook information to log in, you are also sharing personal information from your Facebook account with the other website. Third party websites can also sometimes post updates to your wall on your behalf. You can edit who sees each app you use and any future posts the app makes for you, or delete the apps you no longer use. Edit your apps by going to your App Settings.
You can view other settings at any time in your Privacy Settings. Or click the padlock icon located in the top right corner.
Use Social Media Security in your Avast account
Every Avast customer has access to our Social Media Security check via your MyAvast account. You can secure your Facebook profile with:
- 24/7 check of all posts
- Protection from dangerous links and viruses
- Monitoring of all photos, friends, and activities
Here’s what you do:
- 1. Go to your my.avast.com account. Your Avast Account is created automatically from the email account entered for any Avast GrimeFighter purchase or Avast Free Antivirus registration. Here’s instructions on our FAQ if you don’t have an account.
- 2. On the bottom left side of the main screen, you will see Social Media Security. Click the blue button to begin a scan. (You may need to connect your Facebook account first.)
- 3. After the scan is complete, Social Media Security will show you all the issues that it found. You can choose to review each of those issues and disregard if it’s OK, or manage the settings within Facebook.
Other variations have come through in the past few days with legal-sounding statements, like this:
“In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention)….”
The good news is that Facebook users are becoming more aware of privacy issues, and they seek a way to control their own shared media. The bad news is that this notification has no legal standing at all, you are bound to the terms and conditions that you agreed to when you signed up with Facebook, and you are annoying your friends.
The truth is that YOU own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and YOU can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. If you neglect to look at those settings, you grant Facebook a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.
In tomorrow’s blog, we will share the top 3 areas in Facebook where you need to make sure the privacy is set to your liking.
2015 is arriving and, as usual, tech companies start to launch their updates for the new year. However, it looks like someone is sparking some debate with its recent policies that are to be implemented in less than a month. That someone is… Facebook.
After all the controversy around the Facebook Messenger app last summer, the world’s largest social media company is under fire, again!
Recently, Facebook published their new terms, data policies, and cookies policies that the network will launch January 1st. Basically, the update says that every user of Facebook’s services agree, among other changes, with the utilization of tools that can help to aggregate data in order to create more customized ads – the company also introduces ways to guarantee basic data security.
I’ve noticed that the way I’ve received the ads in my profile is quite different to what it used to be. After simply browsing through a website related to a specific theme, let’s say, football or software, I immediately start to receive wall post offers related to that topic, company, or product that I researched online. Imagine how it’s going to be in 2015 after the new policy has been officially launched?
Is Facebook spying on you?
Would the world’s largest social media website be spying on us? They have admitted publicly that it’s quite easy to monitor online activities, and they do hold a lot of data on their members, which makes people feel a bit uncomfortable. Just search for articles about it, and you’ll see.
Some of the updates you can expect to see are:
Discover what’s going on around you: Facebook is working on ways to show you the most relevant information based on where you are and what your friends are up to.
Make purchases more convenient: People in some regions will see a Buy button, making purchasing easy because you don’t have to leave Facebook. And you get targeted ads based on what you are interested in, like me seeing an increased number of football and software ads.
Make you part of the Facebook ecosystem: You will be even more invested in the “Facebook family” because they are making Instagram, WhatsApp, and the growing number of companies, apps and services that Facebook is acquiring work together more seamlessly.
Your data is still under your control
You should be concerned about the contents and data that you publish on Facebook, because sometimes they make you look like an idiot, but don’t go off the deep end thinking that your social network will steal your privacy! You are still under control of your data!
To help you maintain control, Facebook wants you to understand how they use your information and find information about privacy on Facebook at the moment you need it. Tips and suggestions can be found in Privacy Basics.
It’s also necessary for you to take some precautions, such as:
- Use strong passwords to access your profiles and accounts
- Don’t share sensitive information in social media channels
- Take double precaution with fake websites
- Only proceed with online payments when logged to https pages
And, obviously, use a good antivirus that will help you with all the above procedures! No matter what tools online companies and social media websites are using to better understand your behavior in the “Internet of Things”, you are still under control of your data. Do your part and live a health virtual life!
It only took Apple 24 hours to get 4 million pre-orders of the new iPhone 6, and scammers were right there with them to cash in.
In the newest iteration of a scam used every time a new product is launched with fanfare, Facebook pages have been popping up claiming that people who like, share, and comment on a post can win an iPhone 6.
This type of scam is referred to as like-harvesting. The scammer makes the page popular by collecting likes and then sells the page to other scammers. The offer of a new device, like the iPhone 6, entices people to click the like button then spam their friends with the bogus promotion. Thousands of likes can accumulate within a few hours, making the page quite valuable on the black market. The new owner rebrands it to peddle more questionable products and services with their built-in audience.
A variation on this scam is the Survey Scam. As with like-harvesting, you must first like the Facebook page. The difference is that you need to also share a link with your Facebook friends.
This link takes you to a page where you are instructed to download a “Participation Application.” Generally, a pop-up window leads you to participate in a survey before you can download the application. Some surveys will ask for personal information like your mobile phone number or name and address. If you provide those details, you open yourself up to expensive text-messaging services, annoying phone calls, and junk mail. In some cases, the download contains malicious code. The only thing you can be guaranteed not to get is an iPhone 6! Meanwhile, the scammer earns money for every survey through an affiliate marketing scheme.
What to do if you liked a ‘Win iPhone 6′ page
If you fell for the scam, then learn from it and don’t do it again! Make sure you unlike the page, delete comments that you made, and remove the post from your news feed. You may also want to alert your friends to the scams, so they don’t fall for it.
Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.
Looking like an idiot on social networks like Facebook and Twitter is not too difficult. Many people have achieved this state of being without much thought at all. So c’mon! With a little effort and commitment you can lose your job, get arrested, or alienate your friends!
Here are the top 3 ways you can look like a total nincompoop on social media.
- 1. Post rants and other fun messages. Anger is a completely natural, healthy emotion. Some people think it’s a good idea to try to control it so they won’t, for example, drive their fist through the wall or punch their co-worker in the nose. But now, you can release all that pent up emotion by communicating your feelings on social media!
Like this woman: After being passed over for a promotion at work, an Arizona woman posted an angry Facebook message in reaction. How good it must have felt to let her frustration out. Since she was friends with her co-workers, they all saw it. It said,
This place is a joke!!! I wonder if I passed up a good opportunity by being at this place. I absolutely hate fake and lazy ppl!!! Ugh, the ones who actually work are the ones to blame??? WTF? #TwistedMinds.”
Those co-workers of hers, not the fake or lazy ones, were sure to surround her with support and encouragement after reading how distressed she was.
Oh. Oops. They couldn’t encourage her. She was fired shortly after that rant.
Here’s an example of a proud daughter bragging about her father. That’s really sweet, isn’t it? Most teenagers complain about their parents, but this Florida girl took to Facebook right away to express her joy about an $80,000 age-discrimination lawsuit her father won from a former employer, a posh private school. She had plenty of classmates at the school who saw the post. She wrote,
Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.
It’s so nice that a young girl wants to travel in Europe for the summer…all that history and culture…and the food…
Oh. Oops. The school’s administrators and lawyers also got to see her message. The lawyers were not amused, so they invoked the confidentiality order and voided her father’s settlement.
Read more on our blog about dumb things people post.
- Before posting, take a moment to rethink what you just entered in the newsfeed. Re-read what you wrote before hitting the publish button.
- Take advantage of Facebook Groups or Google+ circles to make sure your messages get to the right people.
- 2. Let it all hang out: Ignore your privacy settings. In the excitement of daily life, it’s easy to forget how many people can read your posts. From co-workers to your mom, even strangers; virtually anyone can read your angry rant, your drunken Tweet, or see Selfies of your trip to the mall when you were supposed to be home sick in bed. When I read about this guy, I knew you’d like it too – it’s so cute.
Lately, you may have noticed that when you try to send messages through Facebook’s mobile app on your phone and tablet, you are prompted to download the standalone Facebook Messenger app. It’s a cool app which allows you to message your Facebook friends, send picture and video messages, and call any of your Facebook friends for free using your Wi-Fi connection. It has also stirred up some controversy about all the permissions it requires.
Messenger needs permission to take pictures and videos using your camera, record audio, directly call phone numbers, receive/send/read/edit your text messages, access the internet, look into your address book, and keep track of your precise location. When we take a look at the permissions listed on the Google Play store, there are other creepy, but not really threatening, things like preventing your phone from sleeping and controlling the vibration.
The privacy controversy that is stirring is around the question of what Facebook may do with all that data. For example, do they really need to see your address book? Don’t they already know who your friends are on Facebook?
The thing is – nothing has changed about Facebook Messenger permissions. The previous version required the same access as the standalone app. You can read Facebook’s explanation about the permissions here.
We wrote about the changes in the way Google Play manages permissions earlier this summer, pointing out that most people blindly accept whatever app developers want without question. Each of us needs to decide how much we are willing to give in order to get. But please be aware, dear avast! users, that your smartphone combined with social media is a mecca for hackers. Our lives in data are stored on our mobile devices and without strong security and some common sense, cybercrooks can harvest it and use it as they please.
Make sure you protect your devices with the proper security. avast! Mobile Security is for Android phones and tablets, and it’s free. The Application Shield keeps you safe from malicious apps by scanning them on two levels – on installation and on execution. With App manager you can see your running apps, check their permissions, and if they display ads. Download avast! Mobile Security & Anti-theft from the Google Play store.
Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ andInstagram. Business owners – check out our business products.
Security and privacy on Social Media is a big topic at AVAST. While our antivirus products protect your various devices from malware infection spread on social channels, your privacy is still exposed to the public.
It’s been a while, since we acquired Secure. me and it’s a superb product. Our team worked hard to integrate the privacy solution into our security portfolio. Now we are proud to introduce the result: Beta version of the avast! Facebook Security.
We are very excited to hear your feedback on the product. Experienced users are most welcome to participate in the Beta Testing. We await your feedback on the product features, user interface, bug reporting, your general experience, as well as your suggestions for the final name of the product. Moreover avast! Facebook Security is a part of the new avast! Account look and your feedback on it is more than appreciated.
To make your life easier, we will guide you through all the steps, starting from:
How to participate in beta testing?
1. Log in our new version of the AVAST account.
Security matters to everyone, however security of our children is our top priority. We make sure that they are safe at school, home, and on the streets. Equally we need to provide them with a safe experience in the cyberworld. Recently, we published a blog about general online security of the children, which suggested that you take time and help your child with privacy settings on Facebook. Don’t worry, if you have no clue where to start, we will guide you through the labyrinth of sophisticated security and privacy settings settings. Follow our tips to secure yourself and your child on the most popular social network.
Like other Internet giants, Facebook has been especially vulnerable to criticisms about privacy. In particular, critics have complained that even if you deactivate your account, the information can still remain on the network and be subject to web searches.~ comments Mashable in the article on recent Facebook privacy update
Following users’ complaints regarding privacy issues, Facebook decided to change the default settings of your status updates to be the visible for Friends only instead of Public. This however applies to Facebook newbies only! So if you and your children are already users, you still have a job to do!
Facebook regularly updates its settings and as a result your profile settings can be restored to the default. In terms of privacy it means: Everything is PUBLIC. Therefore it’s extremely important to review your profile regularly . You will not be able to influence everything, however there are an advanced number of settings that can be fully controlled by you. The three basic areas that you should focus on are:
- 1. Who can see your posts and images?
- 2. Who can contact you?
- 3. How you can help your child block harassing Facebook friends.
You will find this setting in the right top corner on the blue bar, in the Privacy Shortcuts section. Click on the See More Settings to open the window below and follow our suggestions.