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 email@example.com 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!
One of the most commented upon features of avast! Antivirus is the female voice of our notifications. The familiar message AVAST virus database has been updated is heard by nearly 200 million AVAST users around the world every day, and has been described as “sexy” and “comforting.” But you don’t have to stick with the standard voice – you have a variety of choices for the AVAST voice.
Visit the avast! Voices tab on our Facebook page and you can choose from different languages or a variety of themes including Pirate, Redneck, or Bengal Tiger. Listen first, and then download your choice. Change as often as you like.
And for those of you who need some silence, here are directions to disable the notifications you don’t want to hear.
Read how California-girl, Aubrey Anthony, got to be the voice of AVAST notification messages in our blog.
A dangerous Trojan named ZeuS is making its way among Facebook users. This old Trojan horse has infected millions of computers over the years, stealing banking credentials and other personally identifiable information. Zeus can lie dormant on infected computers until the unsuspecting victim logs into their bank’s website. Once you’re logged in, cybercrooks can steal your log in credentials and empty your account without your knowledge.
The virus is spread through phishing messages either from a funny or shocking video from a friend posted on their page or in a message to you, or through an ad for videos or products. If you click the link to watch the video, a notification will say that you need to update the player. When you click update, you are actually downloading the Trojan. Clicking the Play button automatically gives your “Like” to the virus page, and it’s through this action that the link will spread to all of your friends.
All avast! Antivirus products detect and block Zeus if a user tries to install or run the .exe file, but the best way to protect yourself is to avoid it! avast! SafeZone is recommended for safe banking, financial transactions, and shopping online. It gives you a private, secure, and isolated desktop which keeps you safe from keyloggers like the ZeuS Trojan. avast! SafeZone is available in avast! Pro, avast! Internet Security, and avast! Premier.
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Social media profiles affects college admission, job searches, and careers
A 24-year-old high school teacher in Georgia, USA, lost her job after an anonymous e-mailer complained about a Facebook picture of her sipping wine and drinking beer while on vacation in Europe. An Arizona woman was fired after ranting on Facebook when she was passed over for a job promotion. An 18-year-old Buckingham Palace guard was fired after he called Kate Middleton a ‘stupid stuck up cow’ in a Facebook post. A star high school football recruit lost his scholarship to the University of Michigan because of vulgar tweets.
By now, you know that you should not reveal personal information to strangers or on your Facebook profiles, and that you should utilize the privacy settings on social networking sites. You also need to be careful with what you are posting online because potential employers or college admission officers could be looking at your page.
A newly published report tells us that 1 in 10 people between ages 16 and 34 have been turned down for a new job because of photos or comments on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networking sites. “The majority (two-thirds) are not concerned that their use of social media now, may harm their future career prospects and are not deterred from using it,” states ondevice research, “They are also more likely to have altered their social media profile to look good to their friends, as opposed to prospective employers.”
If you can’t live without social networking, especially Facebook, during your job search, use it to your advantage.
- Give your profile a makeover. Prune old posts to highlight what’s great about you instead of what you ate for lunch in 2010. Either delete or restrict the view to images and albums that don’t show you in your best light. Get a handle on tagged photos by setting ‘Review Posts Friends Tag You in Before They Appear on Your Timeline.’
- Build a compelling professional profile. Show off your strengths and accomplishments. To keep it personal as well as professional, add interests, hobbies, volunteering, educational information, and professional pictures.
- Follow and engage with companies and career–related groups on LinkedIn and Twitter so you’ll know about company hires and other news.
- Add value to the company you are interested in by participating in conversations, answering questions, and sharing links. Make sure you use solid grammar and communication skills.
If your Facebook profile is beyond help, then consider deactivating it for a time. The deactivation option gives you the flexibility to leave and come back whenever you want. Select Account Settings>Click Security in the left-hand column>Click Deactivate your account.