Identity Theft

How Changing Your Facebook Profile Could Get You Hacked

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If you see an app saying it can change your Facebook color scheme, don’t get excited: It’s an old scam that resurfaced on people’s timelines recently, according to a post from security blog Cheetah Mobile. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you’re stuck with blue.

Here’s how the hacking operation works: An app called Facebook color changer pops up advertising the ability to change your profile’s color, and when a user chooses to follow a link (complete with a misspelling), they are redirected to a phishing site, where the attack proceeds in one of two ways, the blog notes.

Users are asked to view a tutorial video, which allows the hacker to access the Facebook profile and connect with the user’s friends, and if the victim doesn’t watch the video, they are redirected to download a pornography video player, the Cheetah Mobile CM Security Researcher lab found. If you’re on an Android device, rather than a PC, a warning pops up saying the device has been compromised and instructs you to download antivirus software. (Guess what — you’re not downloading antivirus software.)

By accessing your Facebook account, the hackers work to spread the malicious software to your friends and reach more victims. If you got caught up in the excitement of ditching that Facebook blue, you should be able to stop the damage: Change your Facebook password, then remove the color changer application, CM Security advises.

Social media accounts are a hacker’s treasure trove, because not only do they access your information, they can use you to find new victims. Beware of using external applications through social media accounts, and update your security settings often to make sure you’re not exposing any information you don’t want to. It helps to change your password regularly, and don’t use the same password across multiple sites — you’re just making hackers’ jobs easier that way.

A cyberattack could reach your bank accounts or more sensitive personal information, so you should frequently monitor your online account activity and credit scores for signs of abuse. Checking your bank accounts is easy — most financial services providers have online account access and mobile applications — and so is monitoring your credit. You can see two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com, and you’re also entitled to free annual credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com.

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