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National Center for Campus Public Safety
 

Internet Social Networking Risks

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Internet-based social networking sites have created a revolution in social connectivity. However, con artists, criminals, and other dishonest actors are exploiting this capability for nefarious purposes. There are primarily two tactics used to exploit online social networks. In practice, they are often combined. Those tactics are: computer savvy hackers who specialize in writing and manipulating computer code to gain access or install unwanted software on your computer or phone, and social or human hackers who specialize in exploiting personal connections through social networks. Social hackers, sometimes referred to as “social engineers,” manipulate people through social interactions (in person, over the phone, or in writing). Humans are a weak link in cyber security, and hackers and social manipulators know this. They try to trick people into getting past security walls. They design their actions to appear harmless and legitimate. Falling for an online scam or computer hack could be damaging for an individual victim as well as the organization the victim works for. This document includes social networking risks, tactics that scammers and hackers use, and preventative measures you can take to protect yourself at home and work.

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