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Social Networking Sites Becoming Popular Among Cyber Criminals

Security experts believe that the rising popularity of social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, among spammers has mainly been due to the relaxation provided by the organizations on the restrictions to visit these sites.

For instance, recently Michael Jackson's death resulted into a flood of e-mail scams on Facebook and Twitter. Security experts such as Graham Cluley stated that some of these malicious e-mails promised recipients of the songs sung by the King of Pop, which have not been heard earlier. Some of them also promised of new pictures and details of Michael Jackson's death. The link to these details typically prompts the recipient to download Adobe Flash update. But in place of an update, users end up installing a bot Trojan or other malicious code on their systems, as per the news published by Sophos.com on July 10, 2009.

Cluley added that the malicious Twitter and Facebook messages related to celebrities contain some web links, which claim to have some secret information. It can be said that the most popular scam on these social networking sites is that related to the news regarding celebrities. This is mainly because most of the people love gossips. Consequently, these sites have emerged as a hub for online scams.

Moreover, these two most popular social networking sites have suffered many such phishing scams involving a question attracting the user's attention. The user is then directed to phony log-in screen. For instance, often the user receives a message asking "Did you see this picture?" and a link is also provided within that message. On clicking the link, the user is asked to enter his log-in details on a bogus log-in screen.

Another prominent online scam that creates a lot of fuss is the 419 scam. It is noted that this scam makes regular rounds on the Facebook.

A recent research conducted by Webroot security firm suggests that in 2008, around 3 in every 10 users have faced a security attack, like a phishing scam or a virus infection, on a social networking site.

Thus, in wake of such statistics, security experts have suggested users to remain utterly cautious while they receive unsolicited e-mails urging them to click open some link.

Related article: SoCal Computer Hack Traces to Watsonville

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