You sign into Facebook, and are confronted with something new on your wall. It’s begging to be clicked on. It promises you something funny, something revealing about someone else, or information about your profile you’d love to know. So – do you click on it?
How could you pass that up? Of course, it may not be obvious right away, but this is a malicious link. There is no way that you can find out how many people have posted on your wall, there are no reporting tools that can give you that information – and clicking it isn’t going to end up anywhere good. Anything that offers you information or something special is most likely malicous. So have your guard up right away.
When you click that link, one of a few things can happen. First, by clicking on that, you may get taken to another page not on Facebook.com – the link “http://bit.ly” is a url shortener – that link could take you anywhere, without warning. From there, you may have software installed on your computer without asking permission – software designed to show you ads, and slow down your computer. You always have to be careful when clicking on shortened URL’s – you’ll have no idea where they’re going to take you.
Or, by clicking on that link, you might presented with a Facebook page that asks for Facebook permissions. Do not, under any circumstances, click “allow”. The correct answer is always “Don’t Allow”. If you click “allow”, whoever created that now has access to your user information, can post on your wall, and can access your data anytime. Some ask for even more permission. Be extremely careful when seeing this screen.
So, what if you did click “allow”? Well, there’s a good chance that same link is already posted on all your friend’s pages. So some damage control is in order, followed by some apologies. A good thing to do right away on your own page is to “mark post as spam” by clicking the “x” in the top right corner of the post. (That “x” only appears when you hover over it.) Next, contact your friends and let them know the situation, ensuring that you apologize profusely. Next, remove the application within Facebook. It’s a little bit of a process, but needs to be documented.
After you do all that, take some time to read through the list of other applications that you approved at one time or another. Go ahead and remove them if you don’t know what they are.
Lastly, change your Facebook password – choose something difficult to remember, something that’s not in the dictionary, and uses a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols.
Hopefully, you’ll be more careful before clicking on these types of links next time!