A while back I wrote Will You Be My Facebook Friend…Again? Talking about people receiving friend requests from those they thought they were already friends with. In fact they are already friends…with the real version. Now the invite is coming from the Spoofed version of a friend.
You log in to your Facebook account and are greeted by questions and concerns from friends that have received a request to be your friend again. Your first thought is that you have been hacked. Instead in almost all cases you were actually Spoofed.
What Is Spoofing and Why Is It Done
Usually if you think of the words Spoof or Satire you may think of Saturday Night Live cast members as exaggerated and funny versions of Politicians. When done on the Internet spoofing holds and entirely different meaning.
Spoofing on the Internet is all about the attempt to gain information. Emails that look exactly like they are from your bank asking you to follow a link and log in to your account. Phone calls with phone numbers from one country when they are actually from the other side of the world. Finally Facebook friend requests that look exactly like an existing friend’s profile. All of these spoofing methods and more are all meant to garner your trust and gain access to information that isn’t freely available.
What Good Does Pretending To Be Me On Facebook Do
Have you put any thought to the security and privacy settings for your Facebook account? Many of these settings determine who has access to what information. For example:
- Friend of a Friend
These three settings are enough reason for someone to want to be you or a friend of you. Access to information like birthday’s, phone numbers, home addresses, vacation times and more. All of this information is worth money to the wrong people.
Another example of why someone may want to pretend to be you is with Malvertising. Who are you more likely to click a link from a trusted friend or a complete stranger? A trusted friend I would hope.
Malvertising is used to distribute malware and ransomware. It is also used in Phishing schemes. Pretending to be someone’s friend can quickly become a lucrative prospect for those that are less than honest.
What Should I Do If I Do Think I’ve Been Hacked or Spoofed
The first thing you should do whenever you have the faintest fear that you may been hacked is to change your password. Always use strong passwords that are completely different than the one you are replacing. I recommend that your password be over 7 characters long and contain Numbers and Letters with one of the letters being a capital letter at least.
After changing your password make some other account changes like new profile picture(s) that help differentiate you from the imposter. Inform others that an imposter is sending out friend requests and not to accept them. Changing your Facebook address to something unique like some combination of your name will also help make you stand out as you.