24 Nov 2010

Facebook users should beware of malware, study says

While Facebook has been a frequent target for malware, a recent study shows just how vulnerable users of the site are to attacks. According to internet security software company BitDefender, 20 percent of all Facebook users are active targets of malware.

Spam is the most common method of spreading malware on Facebook. Malware spread via spam will hijack a user’s account and post malicious links on their friends’ walls. According to data from Facebook app Safego, 20 percent of Facebook users have had malicious links posted on their walls.

Safego analyzed the news feeds of 14,000 Facebook users who installed the app. More than 60 percent of attacks came from notifications from infected third-party applications. Within that figure, 21.5 percent of attacks came from apps that claimed to perform functions that Facebook prohibits, such as allowing users to see who has viewed their profile. Another 15.4 percent offer users items for popular Facebook games.

One of the most notorious Facebook-based malware strains was recently dealt a major blow. The Koobface botnet was brought down by internet security researchers who managed to infiltrate the malware’s servers.