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​Vietnamese online sellers risk losing Facebook accounts over poor security awareness

Sunday, August 26, 2018, 08:17 GMT+7
​Vietnamese online sellers risk losing Facebook accounts over poor security awareness
A user watches a livestreaming session of an online shop on Facebook. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Thinking too little of security has caused many home-run businesses in Vietnam to lose their Facebook accounts, which earn their daily bread.

Not only money, Vietnamese Facebook users, who do business via the world’s biggest networking website, also risk losing their private information and other linked accounts when their main Facebook pages or accounts are compromised.

Vietnam may be Facebook’s seventh-biggest market in terms of number of users, according to data released in July 2017, but the Vietnamese seem to pay little attention to protecting the privacy of their accounts on the social media network.

Huge losses

Kim Xuyen, who runs an online shop selling fashion and accessories on Facebook, learned a costly lesson from poor management of account security.

The mishap occurred the other day when Xuyen failed to log into her Facebook account, despite how many attempts she made.

Xuyen eventually had to permanently ‘say goodbye’ to the account that helped her attract over 5,000 followers to her online business.

The online seller had no choice but to create another account, having to accept fewer customers who know about this new Facebook page.

“I had to find several ways to clear the unsold inventory, even selling them at rock-bottom price,” the online business owner recalled.

“The loss was estimated at more than 50 percent of the products’ original costs,” Xuyen said.

Xuyen is not the only victim of losing Facebook account as Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper noted many other cases facing the same situation with financial damage of hundred millions.

Moreover, relationship with customers, private messages, inventory and even reputation were also affected.

Hazard alerts

Users can lose their Facebook accounts in several ways if they do not pay adequate attention to information security.

Experts have warned online users about the danger of Android malware which wants to steal their Facebook login credentials.

Besides, signing in the social media network using desktops at public places is also not recommended.

Facebook users should also be aware of phishing or the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, which often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website, the look and feel of which are identical to the legitimate site, with the only difference being the URL of the website in concern.

In July, Hanoi-based Internet security firm Bkav reported that it recorded more than 560,000 devices in Vietnam attacked by BrowserSpy, a spyware able to track and steal users’ information, which continued to rapidly spread.

How to protect Facebook accounts?

According to many experts, the most basic step for users to protect their Facebook account is that they should clearly understand its way of use, tools and settings before investing in online businesses on this site.

According to Vu Lam Bang, director of a research and development institute under the Internet security firm CMC Infosec, Vietnamese online residents often make specific mistakes that cost them their Facebook accounts.

They tend to choose weak passwords or one same password for different email addresses and social media accounts or disfavor two-factor authentication, which requires verification code sent to trusted apps, emails or mobile numbers.

They also exchange their passwords via online conversation on Facebook’s instant messaging app, Messenger, vulnerability that can be taken advantage of by hackers to decrypt the chat.

What’s more, Facebook users in Vietnam often fail to resist clicking on strange links from newsfeed or unknown accounts.

Facebook, in fact, does provide its subscribers ‘weapons’ to protect their privacy.

It’s now the users’ story whether they can make use of these tools.

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Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

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