Sophos: Social Networking Security Threats on the Rise

Paul Lilly

Facebook alone claims over 500 million active members, though it's far from the only social networking site on the Web. Social networking is the hottest trend right now, and according to security firm Sophos, scammers and spammers haven taken notice.

Sophos recently surveyed 1,273 users and asked how many had encountered spam, phishing attacks, or malware attacks as a result of social networking. The result? Significant rises in all three categories.

Two-thirds of respondents said they received spam, up from 57 percent one year ago. Phishing attacks rose from 30 percent in December 2009 to 43 percent in December 2010, while malware infestations affected 40 percent of respondents, up from 35 percent one year prior.

"Rogue applications, clickjacking, survey scams – all unheard of just a couple of years ago, are now popping up on a daily basis on social networks such as Facebook," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Why aren't Faceboook and other social networks doing more to prevent spam and scams in the first place? People need to be very careful they don’t end up being conned for their personal details, or get tricked into clicking on links that could earn money for cybercriminals or infect innocent computers."

The vast majority -- 82 percent -- said that Facebook posed the biggest risk to security, but does it really? Not according to Sophos, which named the onMouseOver Twitter attack the biggest social networking worm of 2010.

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