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How to Recognize & Prevent Social Media Account Phishing Attacks?

The most common security challenge both individuals and organizations come across while keeping their information safe and secure is in the form of phishing attack. Either to get access to someone’s password, bank account, credit/debit card, or any other confidential information, hackers use social media platform, phone calls, emails, and any other form of communication so, they can rob reliable data.

Notably, social media is vulnerable and susceptible to such types of attacks like those comprising fake sites set up by hackers and scammers so, they can trick people and can get their account information. Social media do offer tips and ways to prevent these attacks like avoid clicking links, be aware of Bots, Direct messages, and requests for fake chances to win cash prizes. Sometimes, the threats involve fraudulent charity requests for victims who might have suffered from recent natural calamity.

Various reports and facts reveal that 91% of all the cyber-attacks starts with emails. Now social media is added in the top target list of phishing attacks since the attacks turn up to be by 100%

The thing which is alarming and worrying is that people are not aware of how to recognize these social media phishing attacks and prevent them. Even though it is very easy to identify these phishing attacks and to stop them.

In this article, we will discuss different ways of identifying social media phishing attacks and tips to prevent these attacks. Let’s have a look:

Different Types of Social Media Phishing Attacks:

There are different kinds of social media phishing attacks which most of the people fail to identify. Following described below are four common social media phishing attacks. It is hoped that the description of the attacks will surely help you to define, identify, and prevent social media phishing attacks in an easy way.

Fake consumer support accounts:

The rapid growth of social media has altered the way consumers look for support from various brands. Now, most of the people turn towards Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram over the traditional customer support service.

The scammers are always looking for such occasions where they can take advantage of pretending the support accounts of famous brands like Amazon, Samsung, and PayPal.

A study conducted in 2016 reveals that 19% of social media accounts which appear to represent top famous brands were all fake.

To prevent these types of attack, it is essential to check spelling errors and variations in account handling. Moreover, also check the checkmark badges which is present just next to the account name on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as it indicates that the account is valid and authentic.

Phony contests and promotions:

Imposters and scammers are famous for impersonating certain brands on social media so they can promote nonexistent promotions. At times, these phishing attacks might compel the targeted person to give up their confidential information. They claim that the collected data will be used for some discount or to enter a contest and win exciting prizes.

Such attacks are quite easy to identify. These scams have poor grammar, spellings, less number of followers. They might also ask for your personal information or may ask you to make a certain kind of purchase.

One of the best ways to ensure that you connect with the official page of a brand on social media is to directly follow their social pages directly from the organization’s site. By doing so, you can confirm that the account is authentic and can also follow the page from there.

Dangerous direct messages:

The social media phishing attacks can also take place through direct messages too. It is seen from the accounts of acquaintance including close friends and family which might be targeted.

The attacked social media accounts are often used to send phishing links via direct messages to gain trust and casualness to trick you. This type of phishing attack deceives you in a way that you visit malicious sites and downloads file attachments.

To prevent such an attack, you can customize your message option. By doing so, not everyone will be able to send you direct messages. Also, if you are suspicious about someone, then you can mute their messages or can even spam it.

Spambots Comments:

We usually came across trending content like live streams on various social media platforms which are often filled with spammy comments from accounts which are typically part a complex botnet.

These spammy comments have URLs which connects to phishing websites which deceive you into providing your personal and private information. The information includes the username and password of an online account.

The best way to prevent such attacks is to avoid clicking on links on any social media from accounts to whom you are not much familiar with and can’t trust much. Moreover, you can also take help from various security software features like real-time anti-phishing to automatically block any fake websites if you visit them unintentionally.

How to improve Social Media Safety?

As cybercriminals are wandering different social media platforms for getting valuable data, but individuals and cooperates needs to make security their utmost priority. Following are some tips for safe and secure use of social media:

  • To create a unique and secure password for every social media account.
  • You must review your privacy controls and settings regularly.
  • Be cautious before sharing your historical information.
  • You must be as cynical about social media interactions as you would be with your doubtful work emails.

Final Thoughts:

Phishing is a kind of cyber-attack done to gather valuable information by using tricky emails and websites. It is now a common attack on social media which takes different forms and shapes.

One should be extremely careful and aware about protecting and securing themselves and their information from falling victim to these attacks.

Although we have discussed some ways to prevent social media phishing attacks but the best possible way is to keep your eyes open before doing anything either it is opening any site or clicking on any link.

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