If you’re on Facebook, chances are your news feed is currently full of “It’s been a great year!” slideshows posted by friends using the social network’s end-of-year review feature.
Annoyed? At least clicking on them only leads to photos of those friends. Other Facebook posts were much more malign in 2014, as malware makers and other scammers targeted users of the social network.
Online security firm BitDefender has identified seven of the most common examples, warning that while they may seem obvious scams, many people were taken in.
“Millions of people fell for Facebook scams in 2014. They lost money, reputation and even their jobs after simply clicking on the wrong social media link,” claimed the company in a blog post.
“Though security experts, companies and tech-savvy users militate against Facebook cyber-attacks, unwary users fall victims to scams on the social network every day, and veteran users continue to fall for the same old e-threats.”
The scams identified by the company include apps promising Facebook users the ability to see who viewed their profile – not a feature that’s possible on the social network – but which installed malware to spy on their web browsing.
BitDefender claims that almost a quarter of all Facebook scams over the past two years have used the “see who’s viewed your profile” format, which suggests that enough people fall for it to make the scam worthwhile.
The company also claims more than 1,000 Facebook users installed the Trojan.FakeFlash malware in March 2014 after seeing a link promising naked videos of their friends.
Other scam videos include one claiming to show a woman dying during a fight, another woman supposedly beheaded by her husband, and faked nude photos of actor Emma Watson.
Separately, BitDefender has warned that “malicious links hidden in atrocious Facebook videos” will increase in 2015, with beheading and murder clips dangled as bait to entice people to download malware.
“Behaviour analysts and psychologists say teenagers are the most susceptible to clicking on shocking videos, as their empathy for victims of violence is lower,” explained the company in its 2015 cybersecurity predictions report.
Facebook has been taking more steps to help its users deal with malicious activity in 2014, however. In December, the social network launched a free anti-virus scanner, provided by security firm Esset, after partnerships with rival companies F-Secure and Trend Micro in May.