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Concordia University Blocked Use of Facebook

In September 2008, Concordia University in Montreal (Canada) banned Facebook use in study halls and libraries for its 40,000 students. The step was taken in wake of increasing overload on the university networks from spam mails made by hackers, who use students' social network contact as targets for their spam, and increased exposure to phishing and hacking attacks.

A university official said that the social networking sites are the real gateway for spammers and hackers to deteriorate the integrity of the network. Further, it was discovered that several students and university officials received a mail that appeared authentic with the logo of Concordia University.

Technical experts from the university disclosed that social networking sites like Facebook cause problem because many young users post a lot of private information on them, like phone number, mail addresses. This information is a treasure for hackers, phishers and spammers.

On asking the question that attacking mail addresses from social networks is a new frontier for hackers and spammers, President and CEO of ZEROSPAM, an IT security services vendor, David Poellhuber, said that spam has reached Web 2.0 with social networking. Moreover, by concentrating on social networks, they (spammers) can be even more focused and targeted with their mails as compared to conventional spam, as reported by CLOUD COMPUTING JOURNAL on January 12, 2009.

David also claimed that with MySpace and Facebook, they (researchers at ZEROSPAM) believe that spam attacks may target 170 Million social network account users. Hackers are adapting to Web 2.0 and are finding new techniques for mailing. They have discovered a new method to surpass this new technique and are writing latest fake and robot features daily.

In addition, security experts state that hackers can make a fake social network profile and then send an invitation to a user. The user replies by accepting the mail and then continues to get spam. Hacker can also do phishing by sending mails. Through these mails, he will gain access to user's ID, trust and social network profile.

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