According to Symantec, incidents of spam email with links to malware increased by 41% in just one month from November to December 2014. http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/malicious-links-spammers-change-malware-delivery-tactics
But that’s just email. We see an increase in the ever-present malware in social media links. It only makes sense, with the increased amount of time people spend on social media.
So what do you do about it? First of all, here’s Symantec’s suggestions:
- Exercise caution when receiving unsolicited, unexpected, or suspicious emails
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited, unexpected, or suspicious emails
- Avoid opening attachments in unsolicited, unexpected, or suspicious emails
- Keep security software up-to-date
And we recommend installing the WOT plugin from www.mywot.com on ALL your browsers. Not only will it provide reputation-based ratings for every website you visit, it will also rate the links in your social media when your use your browser.
Here’s an example of WOT warning about an actual ad’s links on Facebook, with the WOT legend behind it
(you can click on the photo to see it full size):
And if you click on the links, WOT will even redirect you to a warning page before you go there.
We will be actively working with advocating using WOT to report threats and even bad experiences you may encounter. We love their concept. With over 130 million downloads, this crowdsourced approach to security is the perfect supplement to your antimalware software.
There are of course other alternatives to monitoring links. Many of the commercial antimalware and security products will also warn you. Please be careful about what you download and install. It is unfortunate, but there is a lot of software available that claims to protect you, but further infects your devices. That will be another subject that we will address very soon!
#OnlineThreats is an ongoing series of social media posts with the aim of informing everyone using the internet about common dangers. The net is a wonderful place and many threats can be avoided with just a few precautions. Think of it as going into a city. There are cool sights, fun things to do, and great places to eat. But if you’re not careful, you can get into serious trouble. Still, that doesn’t stop you from going there. Otherwise, the bad guys will have won. Same with the internet!
Over time, you’ll be able to check on the entire list of online threats by going to our blog and clicking on the category, Computing Security. You can always find a shortcut here: http://t2d.la/security