Rubel, who studies at Dhaka College, suddenly sought money from his friends via Facebook inbox. He even gave them his bKash (a mobile-banking system) number. Having seen his desperate urges, many of the recipients responded, while others ignored.

Some of his skeptical friends, however, called directly at his number. Then it appeared that he had no idea about it. In fact, his Facebook ID was compromised. By this time, the so-called hacker fooled many of his friends.

This is a new phenomenon in Bangladesh.

Unlike Rubel, many have to pay way much cost.

Let me share a recent experience. While surfing Facebook, I suddenly discovered that a friend of mine posted a nude video in a Facebook group! And then on his timeline and then on timelines of his other friends and finally, it ended up being at my inbox, too! Furthermore, many of his friends automatically got tagged in the nude-video post. It was, indeed, an embarrassment for my friend.

'Auto-like' phenomenon and risks of getting compromised

To counter this, you cannot help but be cautious. My friend should not have clicked on such videos in the first place. On the video, he posted, many may have clicked and their accounts may likely to have compromised, too. It’s like an epidemic.

People in the sub-continent are fond of ‘likes’. Therefore, maybe it’s a cheap thing here to get thousands and even millions of ‘likes’ on Facebook. When you see that one of your friends without having extraordinary specialty are getting thousands of likes in a single post, you’re certainly going to wonder about ‘how’! Maybe, ‘hackers’ utilize your curiosity.

Out of a blue, you receive a message from your friend that you, too, can get thousands of likes using ‘auto-like’? You could not help but click in the ‘auto-like’ link? You’re in a serious shit of trouble, my friend.

Because, you’re going to be asked to provide your email and password to get ‘likes’. In fact, the interface is fake, identical to Facebook’s log-in page, but not Facebook’s own log-in page. So your email and password will be sent to the ‘hackers’. It’s called ‘fishing’, one of the oldest, yet effective, tricks to compromise one’s account. As soon as the hacker gets your information, s/he will get into your account and change your log-in information.

Now, your account is fully controlled by the hacker(s).

You’ll next be contacted and a huge amount of money will be sought. If you deny, you’ll be threatened that nude pictures will be uploaded from your account. Such silly blackmailing tricks will be used to extract money from your pocket.

To counter this

  • You can use ‘2-step verification’ so that hackers cannot get inside your account despite having your log-in information. Because, ‘2-step verification’ system requires another code – which will be sent to your mobile number each time you successfully provide correct log-in credentials – to get eventual access.
  • Set up ‘trusted contacts’, right now. Trusted contacts are a list of your most trusted friends, with whom you have direct contacts and who you trust most. If your account gets compromised, and even if the infiltrator changes your log-in information, you can get your account back. All you need to do is follow these instructions.
  • To prevent your account from getting compromised in the first place, you should be very cautious while using Facebook. Don’t click on suspicious link, even if it is sent by your closest buddy. Who knows if his/her own account was compromised! If you click anyhow, don’t provide your log-in info such as email or password. Don’t leave your Facebook account open in devices that multiple persons use.
  • If you see that one of your known friends relentlessly sends spam messages, you can prevent him sending you messages without blocking him. Maybe, s/he would be able to recover the account. If you later see sign of him/her, you can undo that. 
  • Don’t use unnecessary applications in Facebook. Such app can take control of your account and publish whatever it wants!
  • And, last but not least, do use strong and unusual password.
(Editor’s Note: The article has been translated from The Unmesh.)