Hackers are smart and clever. They're always one step ahead of their victims, like you.
Just when it's becoming second nature for you to think twice about opening a link in an email, hackers have a new way to trick you. The problem is, it's so easy to get fooled.
In fact, a Pentagon official recently clicked on a link, just like the ones you click on every day. In that case, it was a hack that affected U.S. government computer systems.
If the U.S. government fell victim to this brand new spear phishing attack, so will many other people. Have you heard Kim Komando talk about spear phishing?
Historically, a hacker sends you a link in an email. They might make the email look like it's coming from a well-known brand, such as PayPal or Apple. But, once you click on the link, their attack begins.
They might take you to a fraudulent website that looks like it's for a real company. There, they'll ask you to disclose your personal information and credit card number. They might also infect your laptop or tablet with malware.
These days, hackers are spear phishing on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks. You won't believe these three super-easy ways you can get lured into their attacks.
Bonus: Keep reading for one simple way to protect yourself from losing all your social media posts, photos and videos.
1. Contests and Free Vacations
Do you know how the Pentagon employee on the previous page fell for this new spear-phishing attack? His wife clicked on a link to win a free vacation that she saw on Twitter.
He then saw his wife's tweet about it when he was at work. Of course, this doesn't end well. He did what anyone of us would do. He clicked on the link.
Bam! The hack had begun. Can you imagine the damage a terrorist group, for instance, could have done on a U.S. government website?
It's so easy to get fooled. After all, you're chatting on social media with your family and friends. It's understandable that you might put your guard down like this Pentagon official did.
As it turns out, nearly 66 percent of people click on spear-phishing links on social media networks, compared to 30 percent on email, according to cyber-security firm ZeroFox.
2. Messages Specifically for You
You know that hackers are dangerous. They sometimes steal your information to drain your bank account or they'll remotely hack your webcam and use it to spy on your family.
They're creepy. That includes the way they're watching you on Facebook and Twitter.
Hackers will take their time to get to know you. Just think about the personal information you've posted on Facebook. Or, better yet, take a look at the messages and photos you've recently posted.
You might be cooling off this summer at a cabin in Lake Tahoe. No matter where you are, though, you're posting photos from there. Your family and friends see those photos, but so do hackers.
Or maybe you've posted a Facebook Live video from a U2 concert. Hackers see that type of personal information and use it against you.
They'll spear phish with a message specifically geared to your interests. Maybe they'll post a link on your timeline to an upcoming concert that you might like, say Bruce Springsteen.
If you love The Boss, aren't you going to click on that link? That's what hackers are counting on.
3. Forged Friends
Over the years, you've gotten used to stopping before you click on email links. But would you hesitate if you saw a link on your relative's Facebook post or a friend's timeline?
Unfortunately, you probably wouldn't hesitate to click on those links. Which is another way that hackers are tricking people like you.
We've told you before that hackers forge social media accounts. They use photos of people you know, create a new account and ask you to be friends. Before you know it, you're chatting with an old friend when, bam! It's a hacker.
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