I'm a big proponent of social media and working online. However, you must be smart about it....
I'm sure you've all received emails/notices from what appears to be Facebook, Amazon, with links asking for you to check on an order, asking you to login and correct a problem, etc.
DON'T CLICK ON IT unless you know it's the real thing. You just might have been "phished."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing defines it as: In the field of computer security, phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
Did you know that many protections have been added by security conscious programmers to certain browsers that will stop you even if you do "Click?" I have Firefox set as my default browser to protect me from phishing. Google, in conjunction with Firefox, reports bad pages to Firefox users via a big and ugly red warning page stating that what you clicked is bad.
The scammers and hackers are getting more and more intelligent about tricking you. They're using a concept called social engineering. The Wiki is a very interesting read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_(security): A hacker's time is mostly spent on this, and only a small fraction of time is spent on executing a technical attack.
So the moral of the story (or tip) is: Keep your computer secure even when you're NOT in front of it.
Places and files to look out for:
1. Facebook & other social networks. There are real emails and phishing emails. Learn the difference.
2. Common files links or attachments in them with these extensions; wmv, mp3, avi, pdf. Same thing - notice whether the files are coming from a known email.
3. Anything that asks you for stuff - passwords, logins, etc.
Steps to prevent yourself from becoming infected:
1. Stop using Internet Explorer for websites that you can use Firefox to access
2. Use Firefox http://www.getfirefox.com
3. Make sure you have a current Anti-virus program. Here are some recommendations:
Vipre - Get a Free Trial here: http://www.vipreantivirus.com/Antivirus-Trial/
b. Microsoft Security Essentials (uses the same engine I think as Vipre, but people have reported problems with it.)
c. ESET NOD32 anti-virus
d. At least one of the following but still not good enough. (Avast, Avira, Norton Anti-Virus, McAfee, AVG)
Do NOT install more than one anti-virus program. In this situation, more is not better and it can be very bad for your computer to have one anti-virus program competing with another. Choose one and keep it current.
Tip offered by Susan Gilbert, AME's Search Engine Marketing Expert and Web 2.0 company owner, http://www.susangilbert.com/, which provides Social Networking websites and services.