POSTED: Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 8:25am
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:59pm
Brian Chapman says he is so paranoid about his online security he relies on a password generator.
"You don't want your whole life taken over because of one crazy hacker," Chapman says.
But even he's clicked onto links sent by cyber crooks parading as facebook friends.
He says, "I have clicked on a few before and thankfully I realized in time and didn't let the package load and closed it."
McAfee security expert joris evers says cyber attackers hacked Google and 29 other companies using information from social sites to profile employees and get into their computers.
"If Google can be breached, anyone can be breached," says Evers.
Professional networking site Linked In has also been a target.
Evers says, "The bad guys are looking for information. They might be looking for intellectual property, money for someone to blackmail, all sorts of insidious things. And how do they find out who to target at an organization? Well, voila!"
Another trick used to spread malware, shortened URLs popular on twitter.
"If something says 'bit.ly/xyzd39876' you have no idea where you're going. You could be going to a page for NBC Bay Area News or you could be going to a page for a cyber criminal in eastern Europe who is trying to steal your identity," says Evers
Cyber criminals also lure people to fake log in sites so they can assume a user's identity.
Evers warns, "It can install other malware tracking your keystrokes trying to get your keystrokes, passwords, your identity or it's meant to send spam."
And social networker Brian Chapman says even though he's web savvy, these new scammers are tricky because they masquerade as people you think are your friends.
"Your friends trust you," says Chapman.
If you get a message that seems odd even if it's from a friend double check before clicking.
Never enter your "log in" information through a link go directly to the site, set up an e-mail account you use only for social networks so you can keep track of who's who.