Facebook likeAVG has partnered with Facebook to protect Facebook’s one billion users from the phishing and other social engineering attacks that continue to plague the community.

As my boss, JR Smith, CEO of AVG, said in our company’s announcement today (16.10.2012), “Social platforms have evolved to become a vital part of our modern communications networks, and it’s important that people do not feel worried about using them.”

And yet, there’s much to be worried about. As outlined in AVG’s Q2 2012 Community Powered Threat Report, Facebook users are being targeted with a number of new socially engineered attacks designed to trick people into giving up their personal and financial data. They work, because the attacks come in the form of messages with what appear to be legitimate links from confirmed Facebook friends. Even the savviest of users can sometimes get duped if they’re not careful, because the power of the message is the context in which the message is received.

For instance, if you just got back home from a party, and one of your friends who was at the party appears to send you a link to photos from a recent night out, it’s easy to think the message is legitimate. Instead, the link could direct you to a site that delivers malware or hijacks your account through malicious code or other methods.

But now, Facebook users will be protected from such sneaky attacks, because Facebook will now leverage the collective intelligence and protection of AVG’s LinkScanner® detection engine and AVG’s community of 128 million users to help protect users of the social network from malicious messages and links. We’re also giving Facebook users the opportunity to download our new AVG AntiVirus FREE 2013 in the Facebook AV Marketplace at no cost.

Of course, no matter what site you’re on, there’s no such thing as 100% protection. So here are some tips to help keep you on your toes regardless of any additional online protection you might be getting.

  • Be wary of any message you receive that asks you to click on a link. Don’t click it! If the message appears to come from a legitimate business or friend, respond to them directly via phone, text, website, etc.
  • Many people have had their social networking accounts broken into by cyberthugs who were able to obtain password info through breached email accounts. Be careful of what kind of information you share about yourself on your social networks, and if possible, make the email password retrieval hints difficult for others to guess.
  • Review the privacy settings on your social network account regularly to control how others can connect with you and see what you’ve posted. Remove authorization for any apps you haven’t been using and no longer plan to use.
  • Conduct periodic audits of your posts to make sure you’re still comfortable with pictures and other content you’ve shared. For instance, a picture you posted of your child might have seemed okay at the time, but a second look could show you’ve been revealing unwanted info about where your child lives or goes to school.

How else do you stay safe on Facebook and on other social networks? Let’s discuss either here, on Twitter, or Facebook!