Chris has a question about Facebook. He writes:  I’m in a quandry here and hope you will address this issue in your Worldstart emails in case others are unsure: I would love to use Facebook because many family members are on it, but I’ve been avoiding it because I heard that some computer programmers won’t touch Facebook due to the potential for viruses.  Yesterday, I was talking to a store owner that said you cannot get a virus on Facebook.  So can you tell me once and for all if you can or cannot get a virus on Facebook?

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Chris, Facebook itself is not a malicious site. Just by logging onto Facebook, you’re not going to activate a virus. Much like just using an e-mail program isn’t going to give you a virus, but there is the potential with both that you might be led to sites that feature malware.

Links to these sites are often disguised as giveaways “click here to get a free iPad’ or outrageous news stories like ‘Wendy’s CEO admits horse and rat meat in chili.”   Once you click on those links and get to those sites, you could find yourself looking at adware and other threats.

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Another problematic place is Facebook apps. Most are perfectly legitimate, but you have to watch out what you download to your page and what you authorize by way of permissions. You don’t want to end up spamming your friends.

Again, it’s pretty much the same level of common sense you need to apply to using e-mail. Some security software, such as Norton, will actually scan your Facebook feed and block some of these spammy posts.

Also, just as with e-mail, you have to be on the lookout for scammers pretending to be friends in need who might sometimes comment on your posts of photos. It’s important to monitor your privacy settings to keep your photos and posts visible to just the people you want to see it.

Facebook requires the same level of vigilance that you apply to everything else related to the Internet. Don’t believe everything you read, be very careful about what you click on. Plus always make sure you have antivirus and antimalware protection on your PC.

~ Cynthia