MAINE, USA — Worldwide, there are nearly 2.5 billion people using Facebook, according to the company, that published this statistic last month.

Right now, any one of those Facebook users is at risk of being hacked. Not only of being hacked, but actually being the one giving the hackers access to one’s account.

There's a scam going around on Facebook right now that allows hackers to lock one out of one’s account.

"Yep, ignore any messages you get from me," wrote one Facebook user. "#hacked."

"Don't open any videos from me," wrote another user in a status update. "Sorry, world."

They start by hacking into a Facebook friend's account, so an actual friend sends a message from their actual account, with a link to a video asking “is that you” in the video.

Cyber Safety 2019
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Don’t click the link! This is a scam called “phishing.”

"Phishing uses this thing called social engineering which is when you play off of a persons' emotions to try to get the outcome you want," said University of Maine at Augusta Student Lab Manager, Samantha Wilkins.

In this case, clicking the link redirects one to a site that looks like native Facebook, but it's not. As soon as the user logs in by putting in one’s credentials, the hackers are in.

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In less than a minute, the hackers lock one out of one’s account and then try to use the same password to access other sites, such as online banking.

"Don't click links, even if it's from people you know or your Facebook friends," said Wilkins. "If it looks 'phishy' or it looks weird [it's probably phishing.]"

"When they send you this kind of link, there's already something to be suspicious about," said Cybersecurity Engineer Pierre Laot.

To avoid falling for this Facebook hack, Laot suggested paying close attention to the language in the message, as well as the emojis.

"You can see directly that there's a way they're going to write it that is not like your friend," added Laot.

Laot works in the brand new, state-of-the-art Maine Cyber Range which will be used to teach students how to spot, stop, and defend against cyber attacks, such as the Facebook phishing scam, by using real-world applications in the online range.

"In today's society, everyone will be compromised at some time," said Associate Professor of Cybersecurity and Computer Information Systems at UMaine Augusta, Henry Felch. "The importance of the range is that we can show students, other individuals, and businesses, what the consequences are if they open something up. They can see what the effect is, what the consequences are, without it really occurring."  

Henry Felch at University of Maine at Augusta
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His office is hosting a cybersecurity event Friday with Senator Angus King where the college will physically, and virtually launch the new cybersecurity training center.

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The cyber range will also be available to Maine’s small business owners to educate them on cybersecurity for business for folks who happen to make the mistake of clicking the wrong link.