We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
78,660 News Articles

The 17 most dangerous places on the internet

They're not the usual suspects... you may be surprised

The scariest sites on the net? They're not the ones you might suspect. Here's what to watch for and how to stay safe, in our list of the 17 scariest places on the internet.

Threat 15: Sites that lure you in, get you to sign up, then sell your email address for spam

The place: 'Free electronics' sites

You've no doubt seen sites around the web blaring, Get a free iPad! Get a free laptop! A free iPod! It's easy! These sites aren't typically dangerous in the classical sense - you probably won't get infected with malware - but your personal information could be sold to other businesses, who can then use it to sell more stuff to you.

If you have to go there: Read the privacy policies. And then read them again. Also, beware of privacy policy loopholes - even though a site says that it won't sell your private data to third parties, depending on the language of the policy, they may still be able to give your information to 'affiliates'.

Threat 16 : Phishing 2.0 on social networks that tricks you into downloading malware or giving your Facebook login information to a criminal

The place: Social networks

Questionable Facebook apps and malicious shortened links aren't the only dangers lurking on social networks. Sites like Facebook have given rise to new forms of phishing. Scammers might hijack one person's Facebook account, then use it to lure that person's friend into clicking a malicious link, going to spam sites, or giving up their Facebook login information - thereby giving scammers one more Facebook account to hijack.

"One of the bigger dangers currently facing users is malware, adware, and spyware spread through social networks like Facebook and Twitter," says Eric Howes, director of malware research with Sunbelt Software.

"Users may receive spam via these networks offering them free deals, links to interesting videos, or even widgets to enhance their Facebook profiles. In many cases what's really being pushed on users is adware, spyware, or even malicious software that can exploit users' PCs."

If you have to go there: Don't trust every link posted to Facebook, even if one of your friends posted it. Be especially suspicious if the post is out of the ordinary for that person. Check the person's wall or Twitter @-replies to see if anyone is concerned that the person's account has been compromised.

And if you suspect that your account has been hijacked, change your password immediately. Both Facebook and Twitter have resources to help you keep up-to-date on the latest threats on both sites. Facebook users should visit its security page; if you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @spam and @safety for Twitter security best practices.

Threat 17: Oversharing - exposing too much personal information on your social network profiles

The place: Social networks

How many times have you seen friends on Facebook or Twitter publicly divulge a bit more information than is necessary? Oversharing isn't just a matter of getting a little too personal - it can leave your private information viewable to the general public. But it's avoidable.

"There is a subtle danger that few people understand with the social networking sites, and that is the idea of information leakage," says AVG's www.avg.co.uk Roger Thompson. "People, particularly teens, put all sorts of information online, without realising that many more people than just their friends can see that data."

Oversharing could very well lead to more serious privacy issues further down the road, Thompson adds. "As today's young teens reach an age to apply for a credit card, I fully expect an onslaught of fraudulent card applications on their behalf, because they un­­wittingly di­­vulged so much information. Harvesting is going on now, and we have no idea who is doing the harvesting."

If you have to go there: This particular threat is relatively easy to avoid, in that a little common sense can go a long way: Just be mindful of what you post. Do you really need to publish your home address and phone number to your Facebook profile?

Finally, be certain to check your privacy settings to make sure that you're not divulging your deepest, darkest secrets to all 500 million Facebook users.

NEXT PAGE: What happens when you surf unprotected

  1. They're not the usual suspects
  2. Torrent sites
  3. Your smartphone
  4. Malicious PDFs
  5. Fake antivirus software
  6. 'Free electronics' sites
  7. What happens when you surf unprotected
  8. Tips from the pros


IDG UK Sites

Nokia Lumia 930 review: The flagship Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone

IDG UK Sites

Live Blog: Apple financial results, record June quarter, 35.2m iPhones sold, $37.4b revenue

IDG UK Sites

Welcome to the upgrade cycle - you'll never leave

IDG UK Sites

Why smartphone screens are getting bigger