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.
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.
Google is the most popular Internet search provider worldwide. The name itself has even become a verb: We don’t look online anymore, we Google everything. Moreover, we use plenty of Google products not even realizing how connected they are. Gmail, YouTube, Translator, Google Drive, Photos (the former Picassa), Play, as well as Google+. The integration of Google products has became stronger. Now we access our email, YouTube videos, images, documents, and social networks such as Google+ and YouTube using one log in and credentials. Therefore it is extremely important to ensure that all of accounts are set up correctly. Following our previous articles on Security on Social Media, on Facebook privacy, Graph search or your reputation online, let’s take a closer look at Google products with a special focus on privacy of your social account.
Security and privacy for your Google accounts
Google+ is a very specific social network, very often underestimated by the users. Most Google+ owners don’t even realize that they have an account on the social channel! You might not use it actively, but it is important to have your data and profile under control. So let’s start with the basics.
In the top right corner you can start editing your profile settings.
Go to the privacy section. One of the most important features here is a 2-Step Verification.
AVAST is the #1 Best Employer in our home country of Czech Republic. We have a multinational team and offices in Silicon Valley, Austin, Munich, and Hong Kong. Professionals from developers to support specialists to marketers want to join our team.
To make sure they secure a spot with our innovative company, potential employees start early. Today we spotted a Tweet complete with a CV from a future avast! Virus Lab researcher:
— CowPipe (@CowPipe_) June 30, 2014
Lucy, we are waiting for you to graduate and join our team!
We are waiting for you, too! If you are creative like Lucy and smart like her virus-fighting Dad, looking for the adventure of a lifetime in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and have a killer skillset, then check out the AVAST Careers page.
Here’s what it’s like to work at AVAST.
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.
The Majority of Children Have Been Asked to Share Inappropriate Photos and Videos Online – Make Sure Your Child is Protected
Kids are online now more than ever with Internet access at home, school and on-the-go with mobile devices. The United Kingdom’s four largest Internet Service Providers have collectively launched Internet Matters, a non-profit organization that helps parents keep their kids safe online. According to Internet Matters, nine in ten kids under the age of ten go online and 26% of kids between the ages of ten and 13 are online for three or more hours a day.
Although there is an apparent shift in teens from Facebook to more private social networking apps, like Snapchat, it is still important to talk to your kids about privacy settings and their online reputation. Internet Matters claims that the average number of friends on social networking sites is 272 for kids between the ages of 12 and 15. Sit together with your kids and go through their privacy settings with them. This will help you get a better understanding of how social networks work and will provide you with the opportunity to talk openly about the importance of online privacy. Kids may not realize how harmful social networking sites can be to their reputation and that once something is published online it is difficult to permanently remove and can come back to haunt them.
You teach your kids to be kind to others, to tell you or a teacher if a classmate is bullying them and to not talk to strangers – these same rules apply online. Internet Matters states that 60% of teens have been asked to share inappropriate images and videos of themselves. Bullies and sexual predators have an open invitation to your home thanks to the Internet. This makes it vital for you to talk to your kids about who they talk to and what topics they discuss online. Let them know they can come to you if someone bullies them or approaches them in an uncomfortable way, whether it be on social networking sites or in private chats. Make sure your kids only connect with and talk to people they know and trust in real life and never reveal personal information such as their address or inappropriate images under any circumstance.
How do your children go online? Do you use and share mobile devices in your family? Take our anonymous survey here!
Famous people – movie stars, athletes, politicians - are the favorite subject matter of scammers. Using modern technologies and communications channels, scammers and social engineers come up with sophisticated methods to trick people and grab their attention. Social channels offer a perfect environment to create buzz, grab users’ interest with shocking content, and eventually make people share the scams themselves! Behind different types of scams stands different motivations; collecting likes (likes farms), spreading malware, or installing malicious applications that will steal your credentials. Whatever those motivations, the intentions of scammers ain’t for your benefit!
We monitor social media to pick up those dangerous scams, warn our community, and report it to our virus lab. There are plenty of users who still become victims of scammers. We are convinced that it is more efficient to avoid problems, than to fix them.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure ~ Benjamin Franklin
Let’s take a look at a few types of scams and patterns that will help us to recognize them ahead. STOP – THINK – AND DON’T CLICK (YET)
Celebrities are in the constant spotlight, followed not only by the paparazzi and tabloid magazines, but fans as well, observing every step they take. The more unusual and shocking the story is, the better it sells online. Is there any better way to attract humans’ attention than with sex? If you know of some, please let us know! Meanwhile, let’s learn how those scams work and mainly - how to recognize them!
- Rouge visuals, shocking copy, and very strong call to actions. If the status contains any of following: OMG, You must watch it, Look what she/he has done! NEVER click on this link!
- Message leads to a shortened URL, so you can not recognize the link that doesn’t lead to any well- known source (celebrity fan pages or blogs, entertainment websites)
- The hosting server is unknown source
Would you click on the video saying “OMG I can’t believe Rihanna did it with a…” Read more…
“It has become second nature to connect various apps like Instagram, SocialCam, Angry Birds, CityVille, and Spotify to your Facebook ID. You just click ‘agree’ without even really knowing what you are agreeing to. What you don’t realize is that social apps linked to your Facebook profile can pretty much track your and your friends’ whole life.”
This quote, from Christian Sigl (co-founder of secure.me, which is now part of AVAST), originally appeared in Mashable in September, 2012.
Back then, we wanted to give users a heads-up and create awareness to think twice before sharing personal data with apps – regardless if via smartphone or the Web. Part of the message was that you never know what can happen with your data and in whose hands it could end up in.
Today, we know where the data went: The NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, have accessed data from Angry Birds and other smartphone and tablet apps, including sensitive information like age, location, education level and sexual orientation. The data accessed was collected directly from phones including geolocation, handset model, handset ID, software version and more – but personal information like sexual orientation, age and education level probably came from social media connect options.
Rovio, the company behind Angry Birds, has reacted and denied that they provide data to the NSA. Instead, they point out that they will rethink relationships with the ad networks they work with. “The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries,” Rovio announced.
Regardless of how this data landed on NSA desks, giving away your customer’s personally identifiable information to a third-party organization is never a good move.
Users couldn’t really have done anything to avoid their data from ending up with the NSA, the only preventative action that could have been taken would have been limiting the amount of personal data that could be collected from social networks. Social network data isn’t meta data, this is information people share voluntarily. So of course, we know today that the NSA can access very sensitive and personal information if they want to – they will find a way if you’re of interest to them. Most of us aren’t though and one thing you can do to limit the amount of data that’s collected is to avoid online oversharing with apps and social networks.
Lithuania is a small European Union country, located in Northeastern Europe. Nearly 10% of 3,000,000 Lithuanians are protected by avast! Antivirus. Among them is one special person: Paulius Yla, an AVAST Evangelist.
“Evangelist” is the term we use for those people who willingly volunteer their personal time and expertise to help others benefit from avast! Antivirus. The most active place for evangelists is on the AVAST forum.
Four years ago, we organized a big meeting for AVAST Evangelists in our Prague headquarters. It was a unique, emotional meeting for both sides: The AVAST team and the AVAST Evangelists. It was an opportunity to meet people we knew only from the cyberworld – The AVAST forum. This is when I met Paulius in person. Paulius, who under the username “YLAP” on the AVAST forum, has been helping users precisely since January 20, 2005, 02:48:04 PM. During his years on the forum, Paulius has generated over 1,800 posts and helped countless of people. But the forum is not the only space where Paulius is active. You can also meet him on Facebook sharing useful tips, so do not hesitate to follow him, as Paulius is a great AVAST expert.
We value our evangelists greatly and there are no words to express our gratitude to Paulius and the others for all their work and for being “AVAST ambassadors” all over the world. In the past we have introduced you to Bob Gostischa (USA), Lisandro Carmona (Brazil) and Charlie O. Prince (USA). It’s time to meet more of the AVAST Evangelists and welcome them officially, and thank them for helping you also on social channels. Please say “Labas” (hi in Lithuanian) to Paulius and get to know one of our experts.