Will the war on spam ever end? Who knows, but it looks as if it will stick around at least into the near future, as cybercriminals go toe to toe with security companies in what seems to be a never-ending battle of wits. As time passes, we are seeing craftier methods being devised by those with malicious intentions. While the growing presence of digital spam is definitely a hassle, there are ways you can counteract it. Here are some newer spam scams identified by PCWorld as making the rounds lately along with some tips you can employ to keep yourself protected.
Before we jump into the different forms of digital spam, letís clarify what exactly constitutes spam for the purpose of this article. In short, itís any form of unwanted communication that you receive from an unknown source. That definition alone leaves the door open to a wide variety of schemes and tricks. Are you wondering just how bad the problem is? According to Blekko, a spam-free search engine, one million new spam pages hit the Web every hour. The number is both incredible and disturbing at the same time. Now letís get into some specifics.
Hereís a problem that seems to be hitting Facebook a lot. Clickjacking essentially results in you clicking something that produces unwanted consequences. For instance, if you see an enticing video on one of your friendsí walls and click it, it may have embedded code in the link. Instead of showing you a legitimate video, you unknowingly ďlikeĒ the post, and it gets spread to your news feed. Other friends can see it, do the same thing, and continue to spread it even more. Such phony posts often lead to online surveys, signups for products, and other unwanted spam.
The presence of clickjacking, or likejacking in Facebookís case, has hit the social network so hard that it fought back by filing lawsuits against Adscend Media LLC, a company accused of perpetuating the scams. You can protect yourself by not clicking on suspicious videos or links. This holds true not only for Facebook, but all over the Web. If you happen to have these links, videos, etc. pop up on your news feed, delete them and warn your friends about them as well.
Twitter has burst onto the scene to become a social networking giant along with Facebook. As with any popular item, cybercriminals like to focus their attention on things with a widespread presence, so Twitter has been hit with a host of scams. Phishing scams seem to be making a lot of noise in particular. Users may receive a direct message saying thereís a ďbad blogĒ about them and they should click a link to see it. The link leads to what looks like a Twitter login page which is nothing more than a setup to steal their credentials. The scammer can then use the compromised account to reach other unsuspecting victims, and the chain grows even bigger.
Beyond login credentials, hackers also love to steal personal information. Cell phone numbers are particularly attractive, as they can sell them on the black market to interested parties. You can prevent any Twitter headaches by avoiding suspicious links. Also, whenever you are at a Twitter login page, its address should be https://twitter.com/. Any deviations mean itís a phishing site trying to steal your information. If you do fall for the login scam, change your password immediately not only on Twitter, but any other sites where you used the same password. In fact, never use the same password on separate sites.
Apps seem to be the huge craze now, and you canít blame consumers for scooping them up. After all, many of them provide added entertainment, while others help to increase productivity. Unfortunately, with so many apps hitting the Android Market, App Store, and more, some fake apps are slipping through the cracks. These fake apps can be copies of legitimate ones, make fake promises, or offer virtually no added functionality. Some have even been detected to contain malicious code.
Luckily, app reviews can help you sift out the bad from the good. Donít download apps that have poor ratings. A little research can go a long way. Even though you think an app must be trustworthy just because it resides on a brand name market, some are not, as even the App Store has seen its share of violators in the past.
Phony News Sites
Just because a site looks like the real thing doesnít mean it is. This holds true for news sites, and there are plenty of them that look authentic but are filled with nothing but enticements to get you to submit personal information. For example, a site may have an official looking header that reads News 7 Daily. A closer look at its front page article shows claims of a single mother making nearly $8,000 a day month with ease. The claim is supposedly backed by news giants such as MSNBC, ABC, USA Today, CNN, and more, and it even includes their logos on the page. As you move further, you can find links to find out more, which eventually leads you to forms that ask for personal data, a credit card, etc. Once this info is in the hands of hackers, they can do a variety of nasty things. Acai berry and colon cleanse products have been the focus of many such sites, but the FTC has cracked down on some of the groups behind them.
To avoid falling for such traps, use common sense. A legitimate news site wonít continuously push you to purchase something. Also, if a claim sounds too good to be true, such as making $8,000 a month for doing nothing, donít believe it. Lastly, never submit personal information, especially credit card data, unless you want to have a mess on your hands.
These are just some of the digital spam scams that are doing their best to annoy the public. They arenít going to disappear anytime soon, so itís best to exercise caution when on the Web or when using your smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
For more on this topic, visit http://www.pcworld.com/article/249300/new_digital_spam_how_bad_guys_try_to_trick_you_how_to_avoid_the_traps.html
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