Cyber criminals targeting social networks

By : |January 18, 2011 0

LONDON, UK: Cyber criminals are preying successfully on social networks because they are softer targets.

Users are more likely to fall for scams sent by supposed ‘friends’, according to security analysts.

IT security firm, Sophos’s annual Security Threat Report has uncovered a sharp rise in the amount of cyber crime attacks on social network users, the Telegraph reports.

Security analysts say there are two reasons for the increase. Firstly, email services’ anti-spam security measures are incredibly sophisticated compared to social networks’ respective security precautions.

Consequently, cyber criminals are able to attack social network users with greater ease.

And secondly, spam is more effective on sites like Twitter and Facebook because people trust the users sending the infected messages.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, explained: "People have grown wise to email spam. They recognise all the warning signs now."

"But a lot more people are tricked by spam messages sent by their ‘friends’ on sites like Facebook – as they have a position of trust," he said.

"When people have been at the receiving end of a phishing attack [where their login details have been intercepted], the cyber criminal can then access that user’s personal information and use it to send very convincing emails asking for favours, such as money to be wired, as the spammer pretends to be a user’s ‘friend’ in trouble."

Analysts have advised people to take down as much personal information as possible from sites like Facebook, which are plagued with ‘rogue applications,’ which go largely unvetted. But they are also calling for the social networks to step up and help protect their users.

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