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Social Networking Sites – New Launch-pads for Cyber Attacks

In an astonishing disclosure, the latest report of MessageLabs states that rising popularity of social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook has made them the hottest target of the spammers and malware writers.

Cyber criminals abuse these sites to trick users into downloading viruses, deploying malware throughout the PCs and networks, and launching bogus websites.

Matt Sergeant, Senior anti-spam Technologist at MessageLabs, told that though spamming through e-mails remains to be the most widespread technique, social networking sites are also appearing to offer new horizons to the spammers for launching cyber attacks, as reported by networkworld on December 16, 2008.

According to Sergeant, users should not only be aware of the various phishing scams, they should also acknowledge the fact that spammers may even detect the passwords.

Spammers have established bogus social networking accounts by breaking the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) code, as per the security experts. This code normally consists of letters that are required to be typed-in while registering for a website.

Cyber crooks have excelled in obtaining passwords of social networking accounts via phishing scams. For instance, in Canada, a spammer tricked Facebook users into revealing their personal details so as to sign-up for the products offered by a fake company, purporting to sell "male enhancement drugs".

Social networking sites are the most significant horizons for the virus attacks as they allow the spammers to create particular applications for them that spread with the rate of an epidemic. On the contrary, if these applications would not have been on a social engineering site, then they would have been regarded as rapidly spreading viruses.

For future, more professionalism will be seen in the phishing tactics employed by criminals to target social networking sites so as to obtain more and more personal and social networking information of a user. This, in turn, will enable the spammers to conduct highly customized and targeted spam attacks.

In a recent survey by Intel, half of the IT experts expressed high concern about the employees under the age of 30, who use these sites disproportionately. They stated that younger population is more susceptible to cyber attacks conducted through social networking sites.

Related article: SoCal Computer Hack Traces to Watsonville

» SPAMfighter News - 27-12-2008

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