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Social Media Sites Risk Growing Threats and Attacks

Social Media Sites Risk Growing Threats and Attacks

Exploring Social Media article series badgeAccording to Investor’s Business Daily, evil is sweeping social networks, moving beyond email and blogs to where you like to virtually hang out and congregate:

Security experts last week warned that a new strain of the Koobface virus is hitting Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites. It looks for links and passwords to other social networking sites.

Social networking site owners work actively to put a lid on nefarious activity. On Tuesday, a federal judge in northern California issued a temporary restraining order against three people accused of widespread spamming and phishing attacks on Facebook. It comes three months after Facebook won a suit that prevents another group of spammers from using or accessing Facebook data and applications.

Virus creators are increasingly targeting social networking sites and other Web 2.0 technologies such as the micro-blogging site Twitter and instant messaging services from Google, AOL and others. Virus writers are also creating fake profiles of celebrities, real friends or business associates hoping people will link with them. Users can be tricked into linking to the fake profile, which can be loaded with various forms of malicious software.

The article by Brian Deagon showcased Facebook users who responded to an email from a “friend on Facebook” to visit a link that initiated a program that “rifled through his hard drive, installed malicious software and sent the same e-mail to all of Daradics’ friends on his Facebook profile.”

Other attack targets included Google Talk, Yahoo and Microsoft Instant Messaging services, and Twitter users. They were sent a message to check out a video or link that required their login information.

The Business of Disrupting Your Business and Life is Big Business

Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media tools and networks are becoming the target of an increasing number of phishing and criminal activity. Unfortunately, many of us continue to fall for these misleading attacks, handing out passwords and personal information, risking our personal identity as well as our privacy and computer data.

Identity theft is on the rise, and it’s a lucrative business to disrupt your business and your online life.

More than 1.2 million people filed a complaint of fraud, identity theft or a related act to law enforcement or regulatory agencies in 2008, up 16% from a year ago, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network, a branch of the Federal Trade Commission. Financial losses came to $1.8 billion, or about $3,400 per victim reporting a financial loss. Losses of $1 million or more were reported by 257 people.

Identity theft was the top complaint, named by 26% of the complainants. Credit card fraud was the most common form of identity theft, at 20%. Most fraud victims said the initial contact with the crooks came through e-mail or Web site visits.

…According to research firm Javelin Strategy and Security, in 2008 about 9.9 million U.S. adults were victims of identity fraud, up 22% from the year before. It pegs the total loss at $48 billion. Most incidents were the result of lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks and credit cards, but online access accounted for 11% of the total.

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In articles I wrote recently on the Downadup Worm Infection and increase in cyber attacks, F-Secure reported that the total amount of malware accumulated over the past 21 years “increased by 200% in the course of just one year” for the year ending in 2008.

With the big business of security attacks and identity theft come big losses. The financial impact of these cyber crimes is on the rise as well. In another article, I wrote that online fraud and phishing scams have increased to impact more than 3.5 million Americans falling victim to phishing schemes and online identity theft throughout the past year, up 57% increase from 2007, costing USD $3.2 billion dollars.

I’ve written a lot about blog scams including the danger of exaggerated claims, how to spot a scam and report them, web hoaxes, blog scams making money from your content and gulibility, get rich schemes, and the growing number of phishing, fake, and impostors out there on the web pretending to be something they aren’t.

I’ve declared this year to be the This is the Year of Original Content, a year where we fight back against those who steal our content for their own evil purposes without our permission. Don’t let your guard down against those who abuse us in other ways, too.

In general, the web and blogosphere is a very safe place to play and network. Just beware of those who enjoy the dark side of the force. We don’t want them to win either.

View Comments (3)
  • This is scary stuff, and people need to be reminded that security is their responsibility, keep up the good work

  • IT management is struggling with whether social media is productive or obstructive for companies and their employees. Software is being developed and policy and restrictions are being decided everyday by IT managers. The security of company networks are at stake but the potential for innovation using social media is a large enough carrot for the discussion of how to properly utilize the medium continues. Palo Alto networks came up with an webinar,, that should be interesting exploring the issues surrounding social media in the workplace. It is important to not only understand the immediate benefits of doing business how one lives, but the threat it presents to a company’s greater ROI and productivity when it comes to the server’s safety and security.

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