Heavy Facebook Users Prone to Phishing Attacks: Study

Heavy Facebook Users Prone to Phishing Attacks: Study
If you are perpetually online on Facebook and do respond to anonymous friends' requests without considering how they are connected with those sending the requests, beware of phishing attacks.

According to a new study by an Indian-origin researcher, habitual use of Facebook makes individuals susceptible to social media phishing attacks by criminals.

"This is because they automatically respond to requests without considering how long they have known them or who else is connected with them," said Arun Vishwanath, an associate professor in the department of communication at the University of Buffalo in New York.

Predictors of habitual use of Facebook include frequent interactions with the platform, a large number of friend connections and individuals' inability to regulate their social media consumption.

"Social media phishing is the attack vector of choice among cyber criminals and has been implicated in crimes ranging from home invasion to cyber bullying, illegal impersonation of individuals and organisation and espionage," Vishwanath added.

These scams attempt to trick people into accepting friend requests and gathering crucial personal and financial information from them.

"Hence, understanding why individuals fall victim to social media phishing scams is important from an organisational security, law enforcement and a national security standpoint," he noted.

The paper appeared in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.


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