NBI warns against Facebook hackers

Posted at 07/05/12 7:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) -- A 17-year-old Facebook user, identified only as "Anna," revealed that she nearly became a victim of a hacked Facebook account.

It all began when Anna received a Facebook message from one of her friends, an international model who invited her to join the industry.

Anna said she agreed to meet with the model, even giving her phone number. But she was surprised to find out that her friend was still in Hong Kong.

The model said her Facebook account was hacked by an unknown person, who has been sending messages to Anna to kidnap her.

The hacker also called Anna up around 40 times on her phone.

Anna said she answered one call and told the person on the line that she wants to talk to her friend, only to be told that "she is coming."

She then told the hacker that she knows he is a fake, and warned her other friends about the incident.

Kidnap for ransom, prostitution

According to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), several criminal syndicates have been using social media sites such as Facebook to dupe people.

Migdonio Congzon, Jr., head of the NBI's Computer Crimes Unit, warned that syndicates are usually involved in either kidnap for ransom or prostitution.

To prevent this from happening, the NBI urged people to be careful about adding friends in their social network and to set their accounts to private.

The agency also advised Facebook users to give limited information about themselves and to avoid chatting with strangers.

Facebook users should also have strong passwords to minimize the chances of hacking, it added.

Facebook security tips

Here are some of Facebook's tips to improve security of user accounts:

-  Don’t click on links or open attachments in suspicious e-mails. If the email looks weird, don’t trust it and delete it from your inbox immediately.

- Be wary of where you enter your password. Just because a page on the Internet looks like Facebook or another site you use, it doesn’t mean that it is. Check the address bar in your browser, and learn to tell the difference between a good URL and a bad one. If you ever have doubts about the legitimacy of a link, simply type the website’s URL (for example, http://www.facebook.com) into the address bar.

- Be suspicious of any e-mail or message that contains an urgent request or asks you to update your information or provide new information.

- Be suspicious of e-mails or messages that contain misspellings or use bad grammar, especially if they’re from someone who is usually a good writer.

- Make sure you have an up-to-date web browser equipped with an anti-phishing blacklist.

- Make sure you have up-to-date comprehensive security software on your computer that includes anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, and a firewall.

- Make sure you've set your operating system to update automatically.

- Make sure you’ve listed a security question and answer for your online accounts. This will come in handy if you ever lose access and need to prove who you are. You can do this on Facebook from the Account Settings page. You should also add a mobile phone number, which will help if we ever need to send you a text message to confirm your identity.

- Don’t share your passwords with anyone. Most reputable online services will never ask for your password through any form of communication.

- Use different passwords for your various online accounts. If you use the same password everywhere, and it’s stolen, you could lose access to all of your accounts at once.

- Use a complex password that can’t be easily guessed. Avoid common words, and make sure your password is at least eight characters long and includes capital and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.

- Remember that you choose what you share and with whom you share it. Think before you post, especially if the information is sensitive or personal in nature.

- Use caution when accessing or sending information over an unsecured public wireless network. Unless you can verify that a Wi-Fi network is secure, you may want to avoid transmitting sensitive information.

Facebook also has a support desk for users who encounter problems about their accounts. -- Report from Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News