Experts: Facebook crime is on the rise

Experts: Facebook crime is on the rise

Summary: Facebook crime, in its various malicious forms, is soaring, and experts are weighing in to explain why it's happening.

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Facebook crime, which includes scams, online bullying, phishing, malware, and many other forms of illegal activities, is soaring and getting more sophisticated, cyber experts have warned. Even crimes that occur after a user posts their GPS location on the social network, such as sexual predation and robberies, are on the rise.

Experts are trying to figure out why these crimes are happening at such a rapid rate. "These types of crimes are designed to use your own actions or weaknesses against you," Lynette Owens, director of Trend Micro's Internet Safety for Kids & Families, told Fox News."As humans, and for good reason, we put trust in others more often than not because most people at most times are worthy of that trust. The online world is no different than the offline world in that sense."

Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont College, believes scammers prey on Facebook users because they don't know their victims. "It's easier to hurt someone when you're not seeing them in person," he said. "Neuroscience research shows that moral violations are less likely when interactions are personal because people empathize with those they meet in person. In the online world, people are just a number."

Ioana Jelea, communication specialist at BitDefender, meanwhile thinks the social scam industry is thriving overall because scammers leverage legitimate Facebook features to persuade people to click on links. Jelea insists that it's not just users' trust in the platform that puts them at risk, but their lack of familiarity with Facebook's security and privacy settings. "Social engineering has reached unprecedented levels, with scam waves being customized according to the very latest events that make the headlines of tabloids," she said. "With celebrity-themed baits, for example, click counts will spike within hours, and as hot topics become 'old news,' they will be dropped and rapidly replaced with fresh meat."

Overall, Facebook users need to learn to be more cautious and weary of what they click on the social network. Doing so will not only help them, but it will improve the overall experience for everyone because it will be harder for such crimes to proliferate across the social network.

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Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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9 comments
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  • Simple reasons:

    1.) it's easy. There's no stakeouts, taking copious notes, etc. The Onion lays it out pretty well: http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/21/fcebook-cia-onion/

    2.) Because of #1, committing such a crime becomes less of a crime of dedication and more a crime of opportunity.

    3.) Facebook is simply the latest place to put stuff like this. It follows IM spam and e-mail spam, but comes with the extra juicy bits of having location and relational information added as well. that makes it an even more desirable target than generic phishing.

    4.) With the higher amount of non-desktop-Windows devices connecting to the internet (divvy up however you want), software-based exploits are becoming more difficult to actively maintain.

    Joey
    voyager529
    • RE: Experts: Facebook crime is on the rise

      @voyager529 You are quoting The Onion as a source? You do know it is a parody, I hope.
      psion@...
    • RE: Experts: Facebook crime is on the rise

      @voyager529
      Basic reason? People are stupid and naive.... They are too preoccupied with vacuous bullshit !
      bobbraiden
    • RE: Experts: Facebook crime is on the rise

      @psion@...
      I don't think he knew that.

      lol... :D
      ScorpioBlue
    • Crimes of opportunity

      @voyager529
      "committing such a crime becomes less of a crime of dedication and more a crime of opportunity."

      So, if I leave my bicycle, unlocked, on my front porch, it's my fault if you steal it... interesting perspective you have there.
      bb_apptix
  • RE: Experts: Facebook crime is on the rise

    FaceBook is a toy only and deserves to be used that way only. It's also a "nice looking" description of all the nice things the neohpytes can do and they learn the hard way about the realities of the FB culture. FB should be shut down just because of its dangers vs positives.
    tom@...
  • Facebook a competitor of fox news!

    The more people who listen to their friends instead of watch something that newscorp owns is bad for business, duh
    Rpg16marine
  • RE: Experts: Facebook crime is on the rise

    I once accidentally clicked on an ad on Facebook and ended up with a horrible virus that made it impossible to get on the internet to figure out how to fix the issue. I had to use the browser on my phone to figure it out and it took FOREVER. I have since downloaded a special firewall that blocks programs from accessing the net unless I allow them and won't allow anything to be downloaded onto my computer unless allowed. It's not perfect, but it has prevented a few attacks. I'm also really careful about what I do on FB. I never give out my location, my profile is locked down - only friends can see my stuff - and I never click on ads, videos, or links.

    I really think FB should be held accountable for the malware/viruses distributed by their site. For the idiots who think it's a good idea to give out their locations, maybe not because they CHOSE to give out their locations despite all the info out there advising against it. But who chooses to get malware by watching a video, clicking a link, or clicking an ad?
    china_cat84
    • I don't understand

      You says that the people who give out their location on Facebook are idiots, but then you want to hold Facebook accountable for the actions of the "idiots" who use it.

      Whatever happened to people being responsible for the consequences of their own actions?
      sissy sue