Monday, January 3, 2011

Facebook and Twitter Safety: How to Protect Yourself and Your Computer

 About a month ago one of my Facebook "friends" had her Facebook account hacked and it sent out bogus messages to all of her friends, including me.  Today I was on the phone with a woman who complained her screen was blinking and she thought she had a virus.  Even though I religiously check my virus software, I am constantly concerned about catching a computer virus from surfing the net, exchanging emails or Facebooking.  Your nonprofit Facebook or Twitter account can be hacked, do as Don McCombie suggests in this article, protect your yourself and your nonprofit!  Bunnie

Facebook and Twitter Safety:  How to Protect Yourself and Your Computer
By Don McCombie, NoWorriesIT.Net

fb.pngA virus that hit Facebook hard in 2009 is unfortunately back: the Koobface virus. Koobface, (an anagram of 'Facebook') infected computers will send a message to the user's Facebook friends suggesting a video or website to click on. Once clicked, the virus infects that computer and sends itself to that user's Facebook friend list. To make matters worse, Koobface is also now turning up on Twitter.


 twitter.pngAlso in 2009, many Facebook users were sent messages containing links to an application which would reveal who their top Facebook friends were. Rumors quickly spread that the application was a virus, dubbed the “Facebook Fan Check Virus”. Shortly after, numerous fixes and virus removal tools cropped up that allegedly removed the Fan Check virus. After an investigation by Facebook, it was determined that the Fan Check application was not a virus, but almost all of the applications to remove it were.

To protect yourself these and other malicious social media viruses, take the following precautions:


1. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date and functioning properly. Most anti-virus programs are updated almost continuously in response to new viruses and spyware. Having a current anti-virus program is essential to staying protected.


2. Use the latest version of whatever web browser you prefer. Like the anti-virus software above, new versions of a web browser will roll out in response to a known vulnerability. If there is a more recent version of your preferred web browser, use it. 

3. Don't click on links from 'friends' if the content or wording doesn't seem like something that friend would send. Almost all of the malware that infects social media sites replicate themselves by sending themselves out through the user’s address book. So even though the message may indeed be from your friend’s account, it may not be from your friend at all.

The good news is that Twitter is now scanning for viruses and browsers are using new tools to check URL's against those on a black list which will prevent redirecting users to fake and unsafe sites. Facebook also has its own Security Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/security) where followers can learn about the latest in social media safety.


Don McCombie is the owner of NoWorriesIT.Net, a network support and security company located in Westminster, MD. Don has been keeping business networks safe from viruses, spyware and hackers for over 15 years. He can be reached at 410.751.7650, or visit the website at www.noworriesit.net.

6 comments:

  1. Oh boy, great advice! Don't think we can be vigilant enough all the time. Thanks for the reminders about the down side of social media! can'

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  2. Thanks Don.

    Every time I think about viruses and trojan horses and worms, et al, I can't help thinking what it would be like if someone was trying to break into our houses or apartments as frequently as our internet accounts. We simply wouldn't function.

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  3. I think we all can use this advice! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  4. Great reminders about taking great care of the technology that we rely on. Great post.

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  5. Bunnie, Great advice. I will add that whenever you think you don't have time to do "that". If those precautions seem like too much trouble, remember that you are also protecting the reputation of your nonprofit.

    You can imagine the damage to the image of your organization if it was publically announced that you aren't being a good steward of online data. Of course, we can all fall to a virus, but it is much better to be able to say "we had all the precautions in place, this virus was just ahead of those."

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