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Social Media Security and “Like Farming”

Social Media

Major cybersecurity incidents like this summer’s Twitter hack always serve as a reminder to review best practices for social media security. While it is unlikely that your social media profile would get swept up in a high-level hack like this, many accounts are hacked daily with less sophisticated methods.

First and foremost, practice good account security. This means strong and unique passwords for all of your accounts (social media and others). Invest in a password manager so you don’t have to remember hundreds of different passwords. Two-factor authentication secures your account with an additional one-time code sent to your phone every time you log into the account. Even if a hacker guesses your unique password, they won’t have access to the code to get into your account.

Think twice before clicking on a social media offer that seems too good to be true. If an account is offering money or a special giveaway, think twice before taking action. In many cases, they may be trying to steal money or personal information.

Sharing posts on social media

“Like” farming is a scam still going strong.  What is it?   Many of these posts are scammers using eye-catching pictures and posts to get many likes and shares.  Emotional posts (sick children, veterans, etc.) and promises of prize giveaways are hard to resist for many.  Some of original posts are harmless enough (and many times fictional).  The trouble is, when the post generates enough likes and shares, the original post may be altered to sell spam products or worse – when the original content is stripped, and malicious content may be added.   Do you know the actual person who created the post? If not, maybe you shouldn’t share it. 

Warning signs:

  • “I bet that [this subject] most people won’t share this” (most likely things that garner sympathy or create a sense of indignation about people being treated poorly)
  • “80% of people fail this” … makes the user feel validated
  • Combine the month you were born with …“ and it reveals your vixen name, etc. You may have just given some of your personal information
  • “Respond to this to see who is a true friend… I think I know who will answer”. Don’t be that friend.
  • RV or car giveaways – it’s a recurring contest on social media that’s too good to be true. RV companies have taken to social media to tell fans it’s a hoax

Consider the benefit of participating versus the possible consequences.  Be careful what you share.

Protect yourself from Like-Farming:

  • Use good judgement – remember when your parents told you “if it’s too good to be true?”
  • Don’t click “like” on every post you see
  • Never share personal information – usually required for prizes
  • Update your browser – it will usually warn you about suspicious sites

Social media can be fun but it’s important to be vigilant about protecting your accounts while using it!