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11 hidden security threats and how to stop them

How to foil the latest crop of sneaky security attacks

Antivirus software and a firewall alone can't guarantee your safety. Here's how to foil the latest crop of sneaky attacks and nefarious attempts to steal your data.

Data harvesting of your profile

Some of the personal details that you might share on social networks, such as your high school, hometown, or birthday, are often the same items used in 'secret' security questions for banks and websites.

An attacker who collects enough of this information may be able to access your most sensitive accounts.

Check your Facebook privacy settings
After signing in to your Facebook account, click Settings on the menu bar and select Privacy Settings.

Facebook's privacy settings allow you to choose who may see various personal details.

You can hide your details from everyone but your Facebook friends (our recommendation), allow members of your networks to view your details as well, or open the floodgates and permit everyone to see your information.

In addition, you can set the privacy level for each component of your profile - for example, your birthday, your religious and political views, the photos you post, and your status updates.

Don't accept any friend requests from strangers
From time to time you may get a friend request from someone you don't know. If you're serious about protecting your personal information, you shouldn't accept such requests.

Share with caution
Consider removing valuable information such as your birth date and hometown from your profile.

You should also think twice before participating in Facebook quizzes and chain lists - though it seems innocent and fun to share your favourite breakfast cereal, the first concert you attended, or where you met your spouse, an attacker armed with enough of these titbits can assume your identity.

Social network impostors

If you've connected with someone on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or another social network, it's probably because you know and trust the person.

Attackers, however, can take control of your friend's online persona and then exploit that trust.

Beware of scams sent from 'friends'
Attackers can hijack one of your online buddies' social networking accounts through malware, phishing scams, and other techniques, and then use the stolen accounts to spam you, steal your personal data, or even con you out of cash.

Once the thieves have locked your friend out of the account, they may send you a note saying, 'Help! I'm in London and my wallet was stolen. Can you wire me some money for a plane ticket?'

Or they may recommend that you click on doctored links that will allow them to infect your computer or compromise your own account.

NEXT PAGE: Web snooping

  1. We show how to foil the latest crop of sneaky security attacks
  2. Data harvesting from your profile
  3. Web snooping
  4. Trojan horse texts
  5. More tips for avoiding exposing your data if a laptop is lost
  6. Rogue Wi-Fi hotspots
  7. Endangered data backups
  8. Five security myths
  9. Additional security resources


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