Over the past few years, there have been numerous hoaxes making the rounds online, claiming this person or that person would steal your Facebook credentials if you so much as accepted their friendship request.
If you have any sort of knowledge about cybersecurity, you likely laughed it off, rolled your eyes, and moved on. Perhaps you even went as far as to explain to the person trying to be a good samaritan and warn you, that such a thing is not possible.
Well, folks, that's right. This is impossible! No, Jayden K Smith, Anwar Jitou, or anyone else won't be hacking you. It's pretty much the same message circulating online, telling you that this individual has "the system" connected to your Facebook account and if one of your friends, not even you personally, accepts the friendship, you'll all be hacked.
The name seems to change every few weeks, and it's become tiring to get messages from all your friends who fell for the lie. So we wanted to set the record straight - this is not a method hackers can use to get to you.
The threat is real, it just doesn't come via Facebook friends
You can end up hacked in countless other ways, though.
For instance, if someone posts a malicious link to a Facebook post, or a Tweet, or sends it to you via an email or via some type of Messaging tool, and you click on it - there's a high chance you might get hacked, especially if you leave your credentials behind, thinking it's the real site. Keep in mind to never input your login credentials on a page that looks in any way suspicious or that you've accessed via link. Always type in the address for your online banking, social media, email account and so on and proceed to log in from there. In this way, you know for sure that it's not a cloned page sending all your private data to a hacker's servers.
You could also end up in trouble if you download pirated or cracked software online. These could come carrying a surprise packed inside, such as malware, spyware, or a keylogger to learn all your secrets.
You should also avoid downloading email attachments that come from addresses you're not familiar with. Furthermore, it's also quite advisable that you always check the address is correct, even if it appears to come from someone you know, to make sure it's not fake, has typos or is just similar to the original. Even if you do end up downloading an email attachment, such as a Word document - never allow Macros to run. Microsoft has turned those off by default because hackers found a way to infiltrate malicious code in there and you can end up with an infected computer.
Avoid downloading fake antivirus software off torrent sites and go for a brand you've heard of, visit their official site directly. Always keep your computer protected, including via a firewall.
As much as possible, avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi connections, such as in coffee shops, malls, and public places. As convenient as these might be, you're putting yourself at risk. Talking of which, if you have a Wi-Fi router at home, do set up a password other than the one the device came with.
Another important thing you should do is learn to set up proper passwords for your online accounts. Never use the same password twice because if one of the services you've used it for gets hacked and the passwords aren't encrypted, all your accounts are in danger too. Combine upper and lower case letters, use numbers and signs, too, and don't use common words anyone can guess. It's not just strangers you're protecting yourself against, but also friends that may be entirely too curious.
In the end, there are countless ways you can get hacked, but accepting someone's friendship over Facebook isn't one of them. Facebook's systems are entirely too secure for such a simple act to allow anyone to hack another person. Sure, if you get unsolicited links from people you don't know over Facebook Messenger you'd be at risk, but we've already covered that. Generally, when such hoaxes make the rounds on Facebook, it's best to report them as spam, so they stop popping up and down everyone's newsfeeds. The faster Facebook pulls the stops, the faster they go away.
Most of all, however, use common sense when facing such issues and do a little bit of digging - someone has surely debunked that hoax by the time it reached you.