Over the last few months, I've seen a sharp increase in the number of Facebook accounts hacked or kidnapped by hackers using Facebook phishing. To understand this, let's take a quick look at why Facebook accounts have become such a target for hackers.
Why are Facebook accounts hacked? …
Facebook now has over 500 million users, providing incredible demographic information that advertisers target advertising. The same affiliate marketers who previously resorted to spam emails and blog comment spam to bring their message to the public, have now discovered that by hijacking Facebook accounts, they send their marketing message to friends and family Connections of these account holders. It is more likely that these "spam" messages will be viewed, read or even clicked as they appear to come from a trusted source (the original account holder).
How exactly are these Facebook accounts hacked and kidnapped? ..
This is really just a new delivery method for an old phishing scheme. Phishing occurs when you enter your credentials on a fake Facebook sign-in page or download malicious software onto your computer. This can cause messages or links to be automatically sent to a large number of your friends. These messages or links are often ads that ask your friends to watch videos or products.
The hacker sets up a Facebook dummy profile, sends hundreds of friend requests and waits for the requests to be accepted. Once some have been accepted, they send tricky messages via Facebook chat or posts to the bulletin board of their new Facebook friends. These messages seem like a temptation like …
"hey, what exactly are you doing in this video (click here) … how embarrassing …"
"This site has some kind of bugs and gives away free iPads, so get there quickly before you miss out on anything (click here) …"
The above examples include a link to a page that appears as a login screen for a Facebook account. The user assumes that for some reason he has been logged out (which sometimes happens) and re-enters his Facebook username and password. What they do not notice is that the page did not belong to Facebook and they only gave their hacker their username and password.
Once the hacker captures the credentials of the user's Facebook account, they simply log in to the account, change the password, and begin submitting affiliate program adverts and other invitations to reveal their account information. This process continues to spread because people are simply unaware.
How to avoid hacking your Facebook …
It's easy to avoid hijacking your Facebook account. Just follow these simple steps:
1. Never share your Facebook username and password with third parties.
2. If you're on a Facebook login screen, make sure you've actually signed up for an official Facebook page. If you see a login screen unexpectedly, just close your browser and open a new one. Then go back to Facebook.com and sign up.
3. Share this post with as many people as possible. The more people become aware of it, the less effective hackers will be, after all, knowledge is power.
What to do if your Facebook account has already been hacked or you suspect that you have been "faked"?
1. If your computer has been infected with a virus or malware, you must run antivirus software to remove these malicious programs and protect your information.
2. If you have access to your Facebook account, change your account password as soon as possible or reset it to block outside access to your account.
3. If you have your account suspended or it has been suspended due to phishing or unsolicited messages, it is best to simply create a new profile. I've heard from many that trying to get Facebook to reactivate an account is a lesson in meaninglessness.