The “Most used words” app became a Facebook hit within days of its launch. At the moment of writing this article, it has been used by nearly 18 million users globally. There are many controversies about user privacy in relation to data that is collected by the app.
Earlier this week, the British company Comparitech published a blog post about the privacy nightmare caused by this innocent-looking Facebook app. “Most used words” is presented as a simple, playful quiz in which Facebook scans through and analyzes users‘ posts in order to generate a collection of words they use most frequently on Facebook. Sounds like fun, right? Before you try it yourself, take a closer look at this data-hungry wolf in sheep’s clothing – after some analysis of the app, it has turned out to be a privacy thief. When using the app, users give away following details:
Over the weekend, we ran a fill-in-the blank contest on our Facebook page in celebration of the launch of Avast 2016 products. Participants had the chance to win a 1-year license for Avast Premier 2016, and could do so by finishing the following sentence:
“The best celebrations always include ______________.”
Facebook has become more concerned about its users’ security. The social giant understands that education is the key to providing users with a secure experience. We have already seen the Facebook “dinosaur” guiding us via privacy settings. Now Facebook pops out a short guide to improve the security of our profiles. We strongly recommend not to ignore it and take those steps to ensure that your profile is properly protected.
Step 1. Take control over your login
Tis’ the season for scams to circulate on Facebook and other social sites.
It sounds like great fun! Join your friends for a “Secret Santa” type gift exchange, and invite lots of others to the party. Only problem is that it’s a hoax.
Watch out if you get a message on your Facebook Newsfeed (also spotted on Reddit) inviting you to join a ‘Secret Sister’ gift exchange. And don’t pass it on, either. It’s a scam, it’s against Facebook’s Terms of Service for sharing personal information, and it could very well be illegal.
Americans don’t trust that technology will be kept out of the hands of bad guys.
Forget about zombies, vampires, and ghosts. Americans don’t fear things that go bump-in-the-night as much as they do their own government. The annual Survey of Fear conducted by Chapman University asked Americans about their level of fear in 88 different topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology, and others. The majority of Americans said that they are “afraid” or “very afraid” of the corruption of government officials.
The misuse of technology, financial crime, and privacy-related issues took up half of the Top 10 fears of 2015. After two years of high-profile data breaches and the revelations of government spying from the Edward Snowden leaks, it’s not too surprising. Here’s the list:
- Corruption of government officials (58.0%)
- Cyber-terrorism (44.8%)
- Corporate tracking of personal information (44.6%)
- Terrorist attacks (44.4%)
- Government tracking of personal information (41.4%)
- Bio-warfare (40.9%)
- Identity theft (39.6%)
- Economic collapse (39.2%)
- Running out of money in the future (37.4%)
- Credit card fraud (36.9%)
Diamond rings and an Audi R8 can be mine just for the simple actions of liking and sharing on Facebook. NOT!
In the past week, three fake giveaways have come across my Facebook newsfeed – two of them today! These were shared by otherwise intelligent friends, so that makes me think all kinds of other people are falling for the scam. I’m sharing these with you, so you’ll know what to look out for.
Each scam promises that you could win a valuable prize just by liking and sharing the post. This one is for an Audi R8 V8, and every time I’ve seen it, it’s originates from a different page. The instructions are always the same – for a chance to win, you must like the page, request your desired color in the comments, and share the post with your friends.
This type of social engineering scam is called like-farming. It is designed to gather many page likes and shares in a short amount of time, and since Facebook’s algorithms give a high weight to those posts that are popular, they have a high probability of showing up in people’s newsfeeds. Scammers go to all this trouble for two purposes: The pages can later be repurposed for survey scams and other types of trickery that can be served to a large audience. And pages with large numbers of fans can be sold on the black market to other scammers with creative ideas.
Managing the security of your Facebook business page is important to maintain a good reputation.
Nowadays we can hardly imagine a successful business functioning without digital marketing. When we say digital marketing Facebook comes to mind immediately. The most popular social platform with more than one billion users all over the world is a massive communication platform not only for the individuals, but also for brands and their consumers.
Freelancers, owners of small local businesses, and large corporations; all of them use Facebook to promote their products and talk with their customers. In this blog post we will show you how to keep your Facebook page safe from the bad guys.
Manage the managers
Even if you are a small business, managing all your social media efforts by yourself can be difficult. Don’t try to control everything, it’s impossible and you will end up with micromanagement overload with unnecessary work. Instead, control the roles of your co-workers and educate them!
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.