Keeping up with the Kardashians... and your privacy settings

On Monday morning, Kim Kardashian West’s spokesperson and Paris officials revealed that she was robbed at gunpoint in her private Paris residence. As the story quickly began to trend on social media platforms, this also turned into a scammer’s paradise, capitalizing on high public interest to entice people to click on links or attachments.  

In fact, within the first 24 hours after the incident was made public, Norton recorded a whopping 2400% increase in Kim-Kardashian related spam and scams.
In order to make money, steal personal information or do damage, attackers used a social engineering tactic that uses current events as a hook to play on people’s emotions and attract attention. As a result, nearly one hundred different subject-line variations were seen in spam messages alone associated with Kardashian’s name, including “Breaking News” and “Photos of” in the subject line. The majority of messages Norton has tracked so far are in English, French and German.
Are you unknowingly letting intruders into your personal life? If you are constantly on Snapchat or Instagram, here are some tips to take note of:
·         Geotagging:
o   By default, Snapchat provides no information about someone’s location. However, users can use “geofilters” which apply a special overlay to their snaps. This information is usually the name of the city, state or associated with a landmark or business, but it does not pinpoint the users’ approximate location.
o   Instagram on the other hand allows users to geotag their photos or videos with a specific landmark/location. The only other way to identify someone’s location would be by identifying any landmarks in the images themselves. So remember, don’t geotag photos from personal locations (like your home, office, a friend or family members’ home)!
·         Privacy settings:
o   Ensure that you regularly review your privacy settings
o   Remove geotags on previously posted photos from these personal locations by viewing your photomap (Instagram)
o   If you’re a Snapchat user, be sure you know who can view your Snapchat stories and who can contact you

Top tips for staying safe from social engineering scams:
-          Don’t open e-mails or click on attachments from those you don’t know
-          Be sceptical:  just because you’ve seen it on your newsfeed doesn’t mean it’s not a scam. Your friends may have fallen victim to a click-jacking scam and are not even aware of it
-          Think before clicking: Hover over the URL before clicking to see what kind of site you’ll be redirected to – a good rule of thumb is to visit only websites you know and trust.  You can also use Norton Safe Search to verify a website’s legitimacy
-          Be suspicious of any calls to action:  if it asks you to fill our information, download a plug-in (which could be malware in disguise) or share with friends before watching or reading the content, that should be an immediate red flag
-          Report suspicious activities or content to the social media platform or your e-mail service provider

Further information social engineering scams are available on Norton’s website.

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