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The darker side of social media

bigstock-Social-Media-Sign-28292228Social media has become a daily ritual for many people; the need to update statuses and tweets about their daily routines has become the accepted norm.

The social media boom has taken off on an unprecedented scale, aided by the rise of smartphones and tablets; there are now just under 33 million Facebook accounts and 34 million Twitter accounts in the UK respectively.

The rise of social media has allowed users to lead an almost completely digital life, with many personal accounts being used as online photo albums. In addition, these accounts contain a lot of sensitive and confidential information that if it were to get in to the wrong hands, could cause no end of trouble.

Our online social lives are being monitored by much darker forces who are exploiting social media for their own personal gain. However, it is not just cyber criminals up to dastardly tricks, many companies are also manipulating social media to promote their causes.

The most well-known virus purporting fake Likes and followers is known as the Zeus virus. Some companies have been known to purchase these fake Likes and followers in order to make their brand/product seem more popular than it actually is, thus boosting its online presence. These Likes/follower packages can be purchased from internet hacker forums and can cost as little as £15 for a batch of 1000. One site even offered this service for as little as £5.99 – it must also be pointed out although these websites are UK registered, many are actually based in India and China and this is apparent from their poor English.

While buying Likes might seem quite trivial, there are however, much sinister things to look out for when browsing social media pages. We’re all guilty for using social media to view viral videos and look at funny pictures. However, hackers have picked up on this trend and are now using it to infect individual accounts.

Viral videos are mainly targeted at Facebook users and allow hackers to swipe users’ passwords. The virus takes on the appearance of a viral video sent by a friend, once clicked the user is directed to a website that tells them they need a plug-in to watch the video. If the plug-in is downloaded, hackers are given access to the user’s password and email. In turn, hackers can access all your personal email and use your account to lure more unsuspecting victims

There are similar viruses circulating Twitter in the form of links, which if clicked take over a user’s account and post spam. It is important you avoid social media viruses at all costs as they can lead to identity fraud and result in you having to make new accounts. Don’t run the risk of losing all your followers that has taken years to build up, follow these simple tips and make it harder for hackers:

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