Recent reports by various security companies are indicating that state-sponsored Russian hackers, such as those that managed to plant fake news stories in an effort to disrupt the 2016 presidential election are increasingly turning to targeting social media accounts to download malware and spread disinformation. This is a complex story and one worth knowing more about, however, as an individual, you are also susceptible to scams, ransomware and malware downloaded through clicking on links in social media postings.
We have long known that phishing emails and the more personally targeted spear phishing emails are how most malware gets downloaded on to the computers of individuals, companies and government agencies. However, as successful as phishing is in spreading malware, postings on social media, according to cybersecurity firm ZeroFOX are twice as successful in spreading malware.
And it makes sense.
In my May 5, 2017 Scam of the day I warned you about the risks of the Facebook “10 concerts, but there is one act that I haven’t seen live” quiz. I highlighted the fact that scammers use social media to gather personal information that can later be used to tailor a message sent through social media such as Facebook or Twitter that you are more likely to trust and click on links in the messages that will download malware.
Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Always be skeptical when you receive any kind of electronic communication that requires you to click on a link in the message. Always confirm it before clicking on the link regardless of how trustworthy it may seem. Further, you may well consider limiting the amount of personal information that you post on social media that can be used to tailor spear phishing emails to lure you a victim of identity theft or some other scam by appealing to something in which you are known to be interested.