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article imageStudy: Are habitual Facebook users easy marks for phishing scams?

By Earl Dittman     Sep 15, 2014 in Internet
Been a victim of countless social media scams or attacks? If so, chances are you are more than a casual Facebook user. According to a new study, habitual Facebook usage is making you an easy phishing target.
A new study finds that habitual use of Facebook makes individuals susceptible to social media phishing attacks by criminals, likely because they automatically respond to requests without considering how they are connected with those sending the requests, how long they have known them, or who else is connected with them.
"Unlike e-mail-based phishing attacks that have less than a 1% success rate, phishing attacks on social media appear to be far more successful and simulated attacks report more than a 40% success rate. The high victimization rate can be attributed to the unique nature of social media phishing attacks. For one, phishing attacks on social media occur over relatively new and evolving platforms such as Facebook and Google Plus, where the interface, its functionalities, and its user protections are constantly changing. Consequently individuals may be unable to achieve a degree of mastery over the use of the platform. Two, e-mail-based phishing is usually a one-stage attack, where the phisher sends an e-mail to a large number of individuals and awaits a response. In contrast, phishing attacks on social media are often two-stage attacks." - Arun Vishwanath, author of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Predictors of habitual use of Facebook include frequent interactions with the platform, a large number of friend connections, and individuals’ inability to regulate their social media consumption.
“Social media phishing is the attack vector of choice among cyber criminals and has been implicated in crimes ranging from home invasion to cyber bullying, illegal impersonation of individuals and organization, and espionage,” said Dr. Vishwanath. “These scams attempt to trick people into accepting friend requests and gathering intel from them. Hence, understanding why individuals fall victim to social media phishing scams is important from an organizational security, law enforcement, and a national security standpoint.”
More about Social Media Deception, Phishing, Facebook Habits, media addiction, Facebook
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