The Golden Rule of Social Media Security

Security & Privacy

We know that when security advice gets too complicated, most people stop listening. So while you still may be paying attention, let me offer just one “Golden Rule” that will help protect you on any of your favorite social networks: LINKS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS.

Cybercriminals know that we love to click on links that have been posted by a friend or someone we follow via social media. That’s why they are flooding social networks with malicious links designed to exploit your trust.

Take the recent FBHOLE worm, for instance. A link appeared across Facebook that said “try not to laugh xD http://www.fbhole. com/omg/allow.php?s=a&r=[random number]”. If you clicked on the link, you inevitably posted the same link on your wall, spreading the attack to all of your friends and their friends and their friends… Millions of Facebook users were spared this nuisance when F-Secure’s own Mikko Hyyponen stopped the attack with a phone call. Nice.

Not every attack is so harmless. F-Secure Labs also recently reported on a Twitter attack that hit users with a keylogger malware, which is better known as banking trojan. There’s no link in the world worth the risk of some criminal getting access to your checking account.

So when in doubt, don’t click.

Of course, we all slip up. We’ve all clicked something that we shouldn’t have—sometimes repeatedly. That’s why it is essential to make sure your computer is protected, preferably with an Internet security software that includes browsing protection. It’s your first line of defense against those two-faced links that pretend to be your friend. You can always check any link with our free Browsing Protection.

If you’re still with me, here’s a slight addition to the Golden Rule: the more generic or sexy a link is, the more dangerous it may be.

If someone posts a link that sounds somewhat personal and thought out—like “10 Tips for Safer Browsing http://bit.ly/bk0igl / Very useful, especially #2” —it’s probably fine. However, if someone is trying to get you to look at the “sexiest girl ever” or offering a great way to get thousands of Twitter followers, watch out.

Some say that the use of shortened links makes Twitter more dangerous than other social sites—though research has shown that the links you’ll find on Twitter are no more harmful than those you’ll find on in Google’s search results. But the Golden Rule applies to any social networking site you find yourself on. Whether you’re Facebooking, Tweeting, LinkingIn, Digging, Redditing or Woofing, links are not your friends.

Your friend,

Jason

CC image by: chego101

Tags

Rate this article

0 votes

12 Comments

Well written article, you’ve put into a few simple words something I’ve understood but been unable to express. Thanks! (How do you teach your wife that she shouldn’t have clicked on that link isn’t it obvious??? It’s obvious to me, but to her it sounds harmless, and interesting…)

Thanks, Daniel. It really messes with our brain chemistry. We’ve been rewarded for clicking so many times, that the thought that it may be dangerous doesn’t even surface. Browsing Protection is a big help, though. Especially on those Google results.

[…] We know that when security advice gets too complicated, most people stop listening. So while you still may be paying attention, let me offer just one “Golden Rule” that will help protect you on any of your favorite social networks: LINKS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. Cybercriminals know that we love to click on links that have been posted by a friend or someone we follow via social media. That’s why they are flooding social networks with malicious links designed to exploit your trust. […]

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

You might also like