Recently, we have seen many Facebook posts with links leading to applications called Give Hearts, Drink It Up and Daily Horoscope. The applications are very popular – they have over 5 million monthly users – and are managed by the same provider called App Discovery Engine. The posts attracted my attention because they seem to be posted automatically. The entire post consists of the URL which contains quite long text separated with ‘+’. (Later we will see that the text is a horoscope that you see on the page of the application).
To begin investigating these apps I follow the link leading to the Give Hearts application. It redirects me directly to the application. But before I can use it I am asked to grant Give Hearts access to information on my Facebook account like my email or friend lists.
Millions of users access social networks every day in order to share, engage, and look for information as well as entertainment. The transparency of social networks come with a risk and we very often expose ourselves to hackers and scammers that can take advantage of information we share. Social platforms constantly improve security and privacy settings, to deliver a safe experience to the users, but who has time to follow all this news? Well, you can relax and rely on us. AVAST specialists are here to deliver this information in an accessible way.
Last month we prepared a security and privacy update following the most important changes on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Check what has changed since than to enjoy a secure social media experience!
At the end of August, Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan published an official blog post, as a response to rumors and extensive discussion on the company’s Data Use Policy. One of the biggest concerns were related to how Facebook displays our data to its clients advertising on the social network. Currently pages can target us even by our name.
Advertisers may also be able to reach you on Facebook using the information they already have about you (such as email addresses or whether you have visited their websites previously).
#AVASTtip: There is not much space for us users to really influence it, but Facebook is open to user feedback. If you would like to comment or express your opinion, you can do it here .
Millions of users access Social Networks every day in order to share, engage, and look for information as well as entertainment. The transparency of social networks come with a risk and we are very often expose ourselves to hackers and scammers that can take advantage of information we share. Social platforms constantly improve security and privacy settings, to deliver a safe experience to the users, but who has time to follow all this news? Well, you can relax and rely on us. AVAST specialists are here to deliver this information in an accessible way.
Last month we warned you against the four sneakiest Facebook scams. Now we have a summary of the latest security and privacy related news. Check it out and enjoy a secure social media experience!
At the end of July, Facebook announced that it will migrate all users to the http connection. HTTPS - Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is a communication protocol primarily used to ensure a safe internet connection. For Facebook users, this means a safer experience, when communicating between a browser and Facebook servers.
Facebook first offered it to users in 2011, as an optional setting. However from now on it will be a default one, so the good news is that you don’t have to change any settings.
Now this is what you will see in your browser, when accessing Facebook.
New anti-bullying features on Facebook
During the last week of July, Facebook announced that,
Child psychologist Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is working with Facebook to develop what he says is the first emotionally-intelligent bullying prevention system on a social network.
Recently we identified a threat which uses Twitter and Facebook to spread. The origin of the infection begins by clicking malicious tweets or Facebook posts.
Summertime means vacation time, and many of us brag share our plans on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. A recent survey by MoneyGram found that nearly one-third of consumers aged 18-49 post details about their vacations on social media before or during their trip, essentially broadcasting to the world when they will be away, where they are going, and what they will do – and more than just friends are watching.
“Sharing summer travel plans can serve as an invitation for criminals to target family members with the relative in need scam,” warns MoneyGram, a leading global money transfer company. In the so-called “family scam,” cybercrooks target elderly family and friends of people traveling on vacation with frantic late-night phone calls or emails from a hijacked account. They make up an emergency situation and instruct the victims to wire huge sums of money to “rescue” their relatives from nonexistent predicaments. Some AVAST users have experienced this firsthand.
According to MoneyGram, victims of family scams lost an average of $1,551 each time money was sent to a scammer – with a total of more than $8.5 million in attempted transactions during summer 2012.
“When families go on vacation, they don’t do their relatives any favors when they post Facebook pictures and tell everyone how long they’ll be gone,” said Barbara Fore, an elder-related-crimes investigator for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in an Orlando Sentinel article. “Criminals are monitoring things like Facebook all the time, and they can often find out just about everything they need to know to run their cons.”
MoneyGram advises that “the safest way to respond to a frantic phone call is to simply hang up and call your relative directly to verify the situation, or verify the identity of the person on the other end of the line or email by asking questions with answers that only true friends or family members would know. These steps often reveal the attempted fraud, preventing any further emotional distress or monetary losses.”
Our first “#useAVAST” Hashtag challenge is over and it’s time to announce the results. As always, YOU have proven what an engaged and creative community AVAST has. We’ve seen plenty of Facebook and Google+ posts and Tweets with your personal recommendations. It has convinced us that we should be giving you this opportunity more often, so Be free to expect some more fun.
As announced in the previous blog, we have selected winners in two categories:
- Most creative/funny recommendation
- Most convincing recommendation
All entries are valuable to us and we appreciate your inventiveness and always-willing-to-participate attitude! Congratulations to the winners! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your 1-year license for avast! Premiere, our best-selling antivirus protection.
The Hashtag system, created by Chris Messina in 2007, became Twitter’s trademark. The other social networks, notably Instagram, Google+, and Tumbr followed Twitter’s “Hashtag policy”; however it was still not available on Facebook, until now! Finally, users of the biggest social platform can follow and create conversations across the world, by adding a simple Hashtag symbol (#) before the word.The AVAST Social Media team is very excited about this feature and would like to introduce you to a new #hashtag challenge available across the social media platforms.
Now the fun part: Utilize the following Hashtag: “#useAVAST” to let everybody know why you personally recommend our free Antivirus solution. Be creative, be funny, be free.
We will award in two categories:
- Most creative/funny recommendation
- Most convincing recommendation Read more…
The title of this blog post may make you think that we will discuss the security of your Facebook account. Not this time. However, I will analyze an attack which starts with a suspicious email sent to the victim’s email account.
The incoming email has the following subject, ‘Hey <name> your Facebook account has been closed!‘ or ‘Hi <name> your Facebook account is blocked!‘. The email has a ZIP file attachment with name <name>.zip, which contains a downloader file named <name>.exe. <name> stands for a random user name. After a user downloads and executes the executable file, he is presented with the message saying that “Your Facebook connection is now secured! Thank you for your support!” It tries to convince you that there was a problem with your Facebook account, which was later successfully solved by executing the application from the email attachment.
Let’s look inside the executable file!
In the coming weeks, secure.me will be fully integrated into AVAST and even get a new name, but you will still enjoy the safe and carefree online experience that you have grown to appreciate. If anything, it will be enhanced through the joint powers of AVAST and secure.me.
We invite you to continue your relationship with secure.me here on AVAST. Become an AVAST fan, follower, and blog reader to stay informed about the latest in security and privacy. As you make the transition with us, we ask that you take a look around, and give our famous avast! Free Antivirus or one of our premium paid products, avast! Pro Antivirus, avast! Internet Security, or avast! Premier a try. You can compare products here, and look for deals at the avast! Store.
Thank you and welcome to AVAST!