Some time back, Facebook announced the launch of firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s an email address that’s available to the general public. It has a singular purpose – to give the public a way to report phishing attempts made against the social networking giant.
Phishing per definition
Phishing is defined as any attempt to acquire personal information through impersonation or spoofing. The information could be anything from user names and passwords to financial information.
By reporting phishing scams to Facebook, the company can investigate the cases and take appropriate action. They can request for the browser to be blacklisted, for instance. Or in some extreme cases, ask for them to be taken down. It also allowed for victims to be identified and in the process, help to re-secure their accounts.
How can you spot these phishing activities? What can you do to protect your own Facebook account from them? Here are some tips.
Always stay suspicious. Phishing works by creating a clone site of the original one. The link to this fake site is then sent to the victim’s email address. Once accessed, it will ask for information to be entered. The info is extracted and sent to the hacker.
So one of the best ways to protect your account from being hacked is to be suspicious of any email that came from an unknown source. If the email includes urgent requests for login or financial information, be wary. Unless the email is digitally signed, it cannot be confirmed that it’s not forged or spoofed.
Opening the wrong email may result in your FB account being hacked
So, do not use the links that came from emails, instant messages or chats. If you suspect the message isn’t authentic, or if you don’t trust the sender, go straight to the website and update your info there, not through the provided link.
Facebook’s new reporting channel will work to compliment internal systems already in place. These systems detect phishing sites that attempt to steal Facebook user login information. Once any attempt is detected, the system notifies Facebook’s security team. They then begin gathering information on the attack. Sometimes this results in the phishing site being taken offline. Users are then notified.
Affected users will receive communication from Facebook advising that passwords need to be changed immediately. These emails also educate users on how to better protect their accounts in the future.
With the popularity of Facebook skyrocketing, sign ups aren’t slowing down. Currently, the social network site already has over one billion users. At any time of the day, at least 700 million of them are active online. This is the reason why Facebook is very appealing to hackers. It’s a gold mine of information. And with many of the users not quite grasping the idea of what can and must not be shared to the rest of the world, hackers are having a field day.
Plenty of other Facebook hacks available
Phishing isn’t the only Facebook account hack available. But it’s the most popular one because it’s the easiest to do. Just try going on any search engine. Search for Facebook hacks. No doubt phishing will be on the very top of search results. Hackers will constantly hold the advantage in regards to hacking Facebook accounts and even though Facebook is doing their best they’re just trying in vain. Dozens of websites will give step by step guides to do it, too. But that doesn’t mean that users just need to sit back and watch hackers do their worst. There are ways to safeguard your account against phishing scams. And now, with Facebook making an email reporting channel available, these attempts can be reported and hopefully, doing so will let Facebook improve their internal system some more while saving hundreds of thousands of other Facebook users from falling into the same phishing traps.
If your Facebook account has been hacked
If you think your account may be compromised, do not hesitate to email Facebook. But really, why put yourself in that situation in the first place? Learn everything you can about phishing scams. And then study how you can protect your account from them. Again, the simplest way to do it is to stay alert. Do not trust links to web pages that are sent by people you don’t know. Sure, an email stating you’ve won an iPad is exciting. But if you do not know how you managed to enter the contest or how you even won, then let caution take over greed. Phishing exploits gullible people. So stay smart.