One-fifth of Facebook users exposed


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to malware.

The big finding: 20 percent of Facebook users are exposed to malicious posts in their “news feeds” of friends’ activity, generally defined as posts that, when clicked on, result in “the user’s account being hijacked and in malware being automatically posted on the walls of the respective user’s friends.”

The numbers were derived from Safego’s analysis of news feed items viewed by the 14,000 Facebook users who have installed the app. Considering Facebook has 500 million users around the world, that’s a small sample, but it’s also a sample of users who, by virtue of installing the app in the first place, indicate that they’re relatively security-minded. The “average” Facebook user may well be even more likely to see malicious posts, in theory.

Over 60 percent of attacks come from notifications from malicious third-party applications on Facebook’s developer platform, the study found. Within that, the most popular subset of “attack apps” (21.5 percent of total kinds of malware) were those that claim to perform a function that Facebook normally prohibits, like seeing who has viewed your profile and who has “unfriended” you. 15.4 percent lure in users with bonus items for Facebook games like free items in FarmVille; 11.2 percent offer bonus (yet bogus) Facebook features like free backgrounds and “dislike buttons,” 7.1 percent promise new versions of well-known gaming titles like World of Warcraft; 5.4 percent claim to give away free cell phones; and 1.3 percent claim to offer a way to watch movies for free online.

And that percentage comes from news feed items, not private messages.

The response from Facebook:

Facebook says that it monitors activity routinely and keeps abreast of security concerns as quickly and expediently as possible, but as with anything else on the Web, dealing with malware is always a game of defense.

In other words be cautious where you tread when it comes to the variety of options available on Facebook.  And make sure your computer’s Internet Security applications are up-to-date.

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About brvanlanen

Just a thirty-something guy currently hanging it up in the greater Green Bay area. My post-high school educational background is mainly in the Information Technology field. Specifically I have an A.A.S. in Computer Network Systems and a B.S. in Information Systems Security, both from ITT Technical Institute, in addition to A and MCDST certifications. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking and sports. My Christian faith is also important to me as a Missouri-Synod Lutheran and all my children attend a Lutheran grade school. When it comes to political leanings I am a conservative first and foremost which you will discover rather quickly. As for sports I am a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers.

Posted on November 22, 2010, in attacks, Facebook, malware, Social Networking, vulnerability and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on One-fifth of Facebook users exposed.

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