Archive 2008 - 2019

Social Networking and Security

by Matthew Payton

Over the years Online Social Networking has grown from a collection of small online services to enormous platforms which billions of people internationally incorporate into their daily lives, to communicate with family, friends, and their community, as is the case with many citizens of Holliston. Unfortunately this makes resources like Facebook popular mediums for hackers and scammers alike.

According to a study conducted by Bit-Defender, one of the top anti-virus providers in the IT industry, 97% of users will click on links, videos, and other content without first investigating the authenticity of the content in question. (

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Behavior of this nature opens you up to a variety of scams, not the least of which is a popular scam making the rounds as of late entitled "malicious tagging". This scam begins with a user receiving a notification that a friend, family member, or colleague has tagged you and a handful of others in a video, which as it’s from a trustworthy source, most users will quickly trust said content and navigate to it. After which they will be informed that their flash player is out of date, and needs to be updated, followed by a prompt to approve said update. DO NOT take the bait, as the content contains a rootkit, which will allow hackers and scammers to retrieve data from your personal machine, such as your login details to Facebook and any other sites and resources your machine is used to manage, INCLUDING YOUR BANK ACCOUNT!

To protect yourself be suspicious of "shortened links", if you see a friend posting questionable content contact them on another platform or mobile device to ensure their account hasn’t been compromised, and always report all malicious posts to site staff. Moreover always ensure you’re conducting a deep scan of your computer on a weekly or biweekly basis using a reputable anti-virus.

Comments (2)

Mr. Williams you bring up a few good points. The false assumption that Operating Systems outside of the Windows platform are not susceptible to infection and other forms of malicious assault is a dangerous one. Socially Engineered Trojans, Unpatched Software, Phishing Attacks, Network Traveling Worms, and Advanced Persistent threats are all concerns that users of all Operating Systems should take into account when considering what precautions they want to implement to protect their data. Windows may have the highest variation in terms of the different types of threats out there, but that is simply due to Windows users make up the largest percentage of computer users to date. This is no way places Mac or Linux users in a position where they can simply disregard Digital Security. As for 80% infections hailing from unauthentic copies of software, I would agree that digital piracy definitely contributes to the spreading of malware, but I would respectfully question what source your statistics are coming from, as in my experience users who do not participate in such behavior are every bit as susceptible to infection just through their day to day browsing due to Java Drive Bys, and legitimate web resources being compromised and malware delivered to its users. That said however I wholeheartedly agree that keeping ones machine up to date is paramount, and I thank you for the comment. Though I would like to add that users should be sure and ONLY receive updates to software, utilities, and their operating systems through legitimate channels, and NEVER through third parties.

Matthew Payton | 2015-07-12 09:20:06

It might be important to note that infections occur in both Mac and PC. More often Mac users believe they are safer to click on links as Apple marketed that Macs don't get viruses thereby making users more vulnerable. Also do not rely on the fact you have antivirus protection. Tools are only as good as what is known about and frequently can be bypassed if a user approves of an update. The safest computer is run by people that stay on top of system and utility updates, don't fall victim to such scams, and does not steal music, movies, and programs like games. 80% of the viruses and malware I have dealt with have come from stolen movies, music, and games. The other 20% are from people that have fallen for scams like this. That may be due to the age group of the people I work with.

Michael Williams | 2015-07-12 04:46:06