6 Steps for Defending Yourself Against Social Spam

Spam on a typical social media account has risen 355% in the first half of 2013, according to a recent article by Mashable. This data is based on Nexgate’s State of Social Media Spam Report, which was released last week. The study analyzed 60 million pieces of content collected over the last two years from social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The results of the study confirmed that the amount of social spam is growing at high rates due to spammers moving from email to social network sites.

Social media sites are appealing to spammers for various reasons. First of all, it is harder to detect spam because only 15% of all social spam has a link that can be detected as spam, according to the report. Secondly, by using social media, spammers can potentially reach millions of people with a single ad or post. Spammers have also developed a variety of ways to spread spam on social networks making it is easier to trick users with appealing visuals beyond the typical spam email.

As spammers move their efforts to social media sites, it is important that all users know how to protect themselves from potential spam and phishing schemes.

In honor of Cyber Security Awareness Month, BBB and the National Cyber Security Alliance’s STOP.THINK.CONNECT campaign recommend the following ways to avoid being a social spam victim:

  • Never reveal personal or financial information over email or on a social media site.
  • Avoid following unfamiliar or unknown links or pop-up ads.
  • Before sending sensitive information over the Internet, check the security of the website. Also pay attention to a website’s URL to ensure it is the legitimate site you are looking for.
  • Make sure to keep up with the latest operating systems, software, web browsers, anti-virus protection and apps for the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Report any possible spam to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.
  • If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close the account(s). Monitor all accounts for suspicious activity.

For more on the social media spam trend, visit http://mashable.com/2013/09/30/social-media-spam-study.

For more tips on avoiding spam and phishing, visit www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/keep-a-clean-machine/spam-and-phishing.

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About Hannah Sassi

Hi, my name is Hannah Sassi and I am the Communications Intern for the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, VA. My hometown is Hatfield, Massachusetts and I am currently a freshman at The George Washington University majoring in Business with a specialization in Economics and Public Policy.