Attention users of social media: Have you been hacked lately?
If you’re reading a blog, chances are that you’re no stranger to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. And perhaps you’re savvy enough that you’ve avoided falling prey to Internet hoaxes and scams.
I consider myself pretty tech-savvy. I know how viruses, worms and malware work. Actually I don’t know exactly, but I have a sense of how they lure their victims. And still, I’ve been sucked in. I have a theory about why.
These evildoers brilliantly appeal to our inner seventh-graders.
We’re all mature adults who have left our adolescent insecurities in the past, right? Wrong.
It took two or three times of clicking into the underbelly of the Internet before I got smart. A post in Facebook’s news feed tempting me with “OMG, here’s a site that will tell you who’s been looking at your photos.” An e-mail from a (hijacked) friend, warning me that “hey someone is posting really NASTY tweets about you and linking to your Twitter account, profile is …” The next thing I knew, the things are spreading and the tweets appearing on my blog are corrupted. All because I wanted to know who was looking at my profile and who was saying bad things about me. For my supposedly mature ego, it’s 1973 all over again.
I know all about https versus http and about changing passwords and Googling solutions and all of that; I’m not completely stupid. These hackers are smart people. They know that many of us still harbor our childhood frailties beneath our confident adult selves and that we’ll likely follow the impulse to find out what people think about us. There’s another Facebook hoax I’ve seen (but proudly avoided) that asks people what they think about you. Isn’t that what we cared too much about when we were young, and maybe still care about now more than we should?
Now I’m mouse-shy. Yesterday I was in a hotel room, working away, and I got a pop-up telling me, congratulations, I was Facebook’s Ohio winner of the day. I’m a little creeped that it knew I was in Ohio, but so go these intelligent platforms. It said that if I clicked a link within 70 seconds I’d receive a $1,000 gift card from Best Buy. I confidently scoffed and X’ed out of the application.
And yet, early this morning, before I was fully awake, the first thought that entered my mind was how I would have spent $1,000 at Best Buy.