1) Account hacking: Hackers use various tools to hack an account. Once hacked, they use the account as a platform to deliver spam and more commonly sell your information. The hackers sell account ids and passwords in exchange for money.
2) Account hijacking: Criminals hijack accounts, i.e, they log in to an already existing account illegally using the obtained user id and password after which they get access to the user’s entire friend list and attain the face of a trusted identity. Account hijacking has accounted to crimes where hijackers have obtained money from Facebook friends on the pretext of being into financial crisis and in need of money. There have also been cases where the victim has been pulled into making some sorts of financial investment.
3) Cloning of profiles: It is the act of creating a Facebook account with the same name and details of an existing user. The cloner then sends requests to the victim’s contacts after which he gains access to the personal information of all victims’ friend lists. Cloning of profiles is one of the most common misuses that victims face.
4) Scamming fake Facebook: Another common form of phishing. The scammers direct users through some sort of clickable enticement designed in such a way that it looks like a real thing. Once the victims clicks on the link his personal information are stored up in a database, later on the scammer sells off these information. Another scammer will then purchase the user’s information and sell fake goods and services or promote brands they have been paid to advertise.
5) Identity theft: Because Facebook is one medium where most people update their private information such as email address, phone numbers, addresses, birth dates, family information and other pieces of personal data; stealing identity of an individual isn’t that difficult.
6) Spamming: Spamming for e.g the mass sending of advertisements to user’s personal accounts is not illegal however with the advent of Facebook a new kind of spamming has come into existence known as “Clickjacking”, which is illegal. Clickjacking involves hacking an account via an advertisement which might seem to be very enticing viral video or an article. Once a user clicks on it, the program sends an advertisement to all the people on his friend’s list without their knowledge.
There is always a possibility of one’s personal information being misused online, be it through Facebook or through any other online networks; one needs to be proactive and take precautionary measures at their end and not fall into such traps. Few things that should be kept in mind are:
a) One needs to be aware of privacy laws and their rights.
b) Always cross verify the information asked online before submission.
Eg: Most business would not need information on your medical history.
c) Provide only as much information you need to.
Eg: E-commerce websites would not need your marital status information.
d) Maintain an updated firewall on your computer to prevent hacking and remote attacks.
e) Never use the same password on all online platforms; and most importantly never have the same password for credit cards or bank accounts.
f) Provide your password and sensitive data only when you are directed to an online secure connection (https:// instead of http://) especially while making any financial transactions.
h) Never give out information online which you aren’t comfortable with.
i) Opt out of promotional mails and offers if you know you do not need them.
j) Do not get enticed and click on “Congratulations, you have won a prize” kind of claims.
k) Never reply or respond to bulk spam emails claiming you have received a prize and they need your personal information and bank account details to send you the prize money.
l) Refrain from using unnecessary add-ons on internet browser, unless they have a trusted name.
m) Never reveal your credit card number or Social Security number without verification.
n) Always think before you click onto any rolling or floating advertisements on the internet. Most of them are built for the purpose of stealing your information or feeding your computer with virus or both.
o) Keep cookies turned off on your web browser, and enable it only when required. Deleting cookies from time to time is a good practice.
p) Use data encryption. Good encryption uses very robust secret codes, which
are difficult if not impossible to crack, to protect your data.
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