A new study finds that habitual use of Facebook makes individuals susceptible to social media phishing attacks by criminals, likely because they automatically respond to requests without considering how they are connected with those sending the requests, how long they have known them, or who else is connected with them.
Predictors of habitual use of Facebook include frequent interactions with the platform, a large number of friend connections, and individuals' inability to regulate their social media consumption.
"Social media phishing is the attack vector of choice among cyber criminals and has been implicated in crimes ranging from home invasion to cyber bullying, illegal impersonation of individuals and organization, and espionage," said Dr. Arun Vishwanath, author of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication study. "These scams attempt to trick people into accepting friend requests and gathering intel from them. Hence, understanding why individuals fall victim to social media phishing scams is important from an organizational security, law enforcement, and a national security standpoint."