July 30, 2010 | Bratislava | Press Releases

After Facebook leak, ESET advises computer users how to keep safe on social networks

After Facebook leak, ESET advises computer users how to keep safe on social networks


BRATISLAVA - Personal information of roughly 100 million out of the half a billion Facebook users have been recently compromised, their private information leaked to the web.  This is not the first or last time social networks have been targeted. ESET’s senior research fellow David Harley, among others, continuously comments on cases of SPAM and SCAM exploiting many applications used on Facebook. To help its users stay safe, ESET has prepared a fresh list of pointers on how to stay secure on social networks.


With regard to Facebook security policy, Harley notes, “It's clearly not the company's demonstrable commitment to taking exhaustive measures to keep its users private data secure. Facebook’s reaction that ‘no private data has been compromised’ is instructive. Strictly speaking, FB is correct: the data that has leaked is not private, because it was not protected by the stricter privacy settings available on FB,” continues ESET’s researcher based in London.


Harley stresses that the ship has already sailed and that if users change their privacy settings now, their data is already in the public domain with literally thousands of people having already downloaded it.


This was not the first security breach on Facebook this month. Dramatic was the spread of scam baits the likes of “The truth about Coca Cola” and “Teacher nearly killed this boy video.” Many of these rogue applications and social network worms are used either as a marketing tool or by outright cyber-criminals looking to scam the incautious users.  “They have continued to plague Facebook users, spamming from their accounts and worming their unwanted links across the social network,” says Harley. The user does not even have to realize having used the application.


Some golden rules to avoid unnecessary harm when on social networks:


Adjust Facebook privacy settings:  Allow only your most trusted friends to see your full profile, use a cut-down profile for the others. In Facebook settings, you can choose what you want to constrain: your status updates, wall posts, personal information or pictures. Occasionally, Facebook changes privacy settings, always check whether you approve them. If you find out that a person among your friends is not trustworthy – remove them.


Avoid using forwarded links: You would never open a suspicious attachment in your e-mail – not even from your friend. You should exercise the same restrain on Facebook. The message can originate from a hacker or cybercriminal, not your friend.


Accept as friends only people that you know: Users should avoid accepting friends that they do not know and in no case they should allow them to see their full profile. You always have to keep in mind what you share with whom.


The data is out there forever:  Do not assume that when you delete a photo or the whole social network account that you deleted all the data forever. Your pictures and information might be already saved on someone’s computer. Always think twice about which pictures and details you put on the Internet.


Be cautious when you install applications:  Many applications of third parties might be the work of cyber-criminals and fall in the unwanted spam category. You do not want to share your private details with these entities.


Think before you click: Before you click on the “like” button, think. Your friends can be infected with the clickjacking worm. It starts with a “like” button and ends with you spamming others. If you want to remove this worm, you need to remove the infected message from your status, wall and check your application settings for suspicious applications.


About ESET


Founded in 1992, ESET is a global provider of security solutions for the home and business segment. The industry leader in proactive malware detection, ESET NOD32 Antivirus holds the world record for the number of Virus Bulletin "VB100 Awards," never to have missed a single “In-the-Wild” worm or virus since the inception of testing in 1998.


ESET has headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia and offices in San Diego, USA; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Prague, Czech Republic, and an extensive partner network in 160 countries. In 2008, ESET has opened a new research center in Krakow, Poland. ESET was named by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the region of Europe, Middle East and Africa.