Fraudsters continue to hijack accounts on social networking sites and spread malicious software by using various techniques. One technique involves the use of spam to promote phishing sites, claiming there has been a violation of the terms of agreement or some other type of issue which needs to be resolved. Other spam entices users to download an application or view a video. Some spam appears to be sent from users' "friends", giving the perception of being legitimate. Once the user responds to the phishing site, downloads the application, or clicks on the video link, their computer, telephone or other digital device becomes infected.
Another technique used by fraudsters involves applications advertised on social networking sites, which appear legitimate; however, some of these applications install malicious code or rogue anti-virus software. Other malicious software gives the fraudsters access to your profile and personal information. These programs will automatically send messages to your "friends" list, instructing them to download the new application too.
Infected users are often unknowingly spreading additional malware by having infected Web sites posted on their Webpage without their knowledge. Friends are then more apt to click on these sites since they appear to be endorsed by their contacts.
Tips on avoiding these tactics:
Those interested in becoming a user of a social networking site and/or current users are recommended to familiarize themselves with the site's policies and procedures before encountering such a problem.
Each social networking site may have different procedures on how to handle a hijacked or infected account; therefore, you may want to reference their help or FAQ page for instructions.
Individuals who experienced such incidents are encouraged to file a complaint at www.IC3.gov reporting the incident.