There’s a scam making its way around Facebook and other social media sites that could leave your computer ridden with malware if you aren’t careful. Here’s what you need to know:
What is Malicious Tagging?
This scam uses a practice known as malicious tagging. A friend will appear to share a video (often one with adult content) to their wall with the names of many friends tagged. If you’re tagged, you’ll receive a notification and likely want to view the video. If you click to view the video, a pop-up will appear that encourages you to update your video player software (like Flash Player). Click to update and you’ll unknowingly install malware on your computer. This malware not only steals personal information (potentially leading to ID theft), but also takes over your Facebook, tagging your friends in the malicious video and perpetrating the scam once again.
What Can You Do?
This scam is a scary one, but there are ways to protect yourself and your friends.
Just Because it’s from a Friend, Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe- We tend to trust links and videos shared by friends, but on social media, this isn’t always a wise choice. Your friend’s accounts may be compromised and they may be unknowingly sharing malicious links. If something seems suspicious, steer clear, even if it’s shared by a trusted friend. To spot a potential scam, look out for postings that seem out of the norm for your friends – if they don’t usually share videos with friends, double check with them before you watch.
Beware of Required Updates– Stay on top of your computer, plug-in, and software updates on your own (automatic updates are an easy way to do this). If an update notification pops up when you attempt to watch a video or follow a link, decline the update and head to the applicable website to do it yourself. Here are some tools to help you stay on top of the updating game:
Firefox’s Plug-In Checker– If you use Firefox, try the Plug-In Checker to see what needs updating. You’ll see which plug-ins are potentially vulnerable and will have access to easy links to update.
Chrome Plug-Ins– Chrome users can head to Chrome’s help page on Plug-Ins for links to supported plug-ins and their updates.
Microsoft Update Page– This help page from Microsoft has tips and tools for keeping your computer up to date.
Report It– If you come across spam or potentially malicious content on Facebook, report it. This helps Facebook to find and remove the bad content and may protect other friends from falling victim.
Think Before You Click– If something is touted as “exclusive”, “one-of-a-kind”, etc. keep your eyes open for a scam.
Stay on the lookout for malicious tagging and don’t fall victim.