BitDefender Study Finds Majority of Social Network Users Do Not Check Shared Links for Malware
Study conducted on Facebook╝ and Twitter╝ reveals ninety-seven percent of respondents will click any link shared on their social platform without first checking it for malware.
In light of their recent study, BitDefender®, an award-winning provider of innovative internet security solutions, today stressed the need for social network users to check all shared links before clicking to access the content.
This study aimed to determine whether curiosity is still the most successful bait for malware dissemination campaigns targeting social network community members.
In the study, Facebook® and Twitter® test profiles were first created and used to build a circle of friends interested in reading about the latest news from various domains covering an assortment of hot topics such as accidents, security news, entertainment industry news and scientific discoveries. Over a three week interval, the test profiles sent safe links to articles with the following request to an accumulated list of over 1,900 friends: “if the link doesn’t work, please tell me in order to use another link shortening system.”
During the second stage of the study, in the span of one week, three URLs leading to malware were shortened and modified to make the malicious pages unavailable and harmless, then sent out to the list of friends. Despite countless awareness campaigns aimed to warn users about the possible dangers behind shortened links, ninety-seven percent of the test profile’s friends admitted to clicking the bad links.
“Despite their enhanced ease of use and of transmission, short URLs have a huge disadvantage from the point of view of data security: because of the short link’s cryptic nature, the user doesn’t know what’s behind the link before actually accessing it,” said Sabina Datcu, BitDefender E-Threats Analyst and Communication Specialist and the author of this experiment. “These kinds of links can be easily used to direct unsuspecting visitors to malware-laden, spam-spreading or phishing sites.”
Facebook users can stay safe with the free BitDefender safego application designed to keep social network accounts from being exposed to malware and spam. According to recent statistics released by the BitDefender, twenty percent of the application’s users turned out to have at least one bad link in their news feeds.
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Bitdefender is the creator of one of the world's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified internet security software. The company is an industry pioneer, introducing and developing award-winning protection since 2001. Today, Bitdefender technology secures the digital experience of around 400 million home and corporate users across the globe.
Recently, Bitdefender won a series of important awards and accolades in the global security industry, including "Product of the Year" by AV-Comparatives, "Best Repair 2012" by AV-Test, "Editor's Choice" and "The Best Antivirus for 2013" by PC Mag, that confirmed the antivirus software’s leadership status among security products.
More information about Bitdefender's products is available from the company's security press room. Additionally, Bitdefender publishes the HOTforSecurity blog, where readers can find stories from the underworld of internet fraud, scams, malicious software - and gossip.