Facebook malware threatens campus web security

Hackers have turned to social media sites in recent years.

Students will click on just about anything posted to their Facebook walls—a social media habit that has brought a flood of malware to college campus networks.

These deceitful Facebook links—posted by hackers who have stolen student login information—have become a primary concern among campus technology leaders, and some colleges and universities are using security programs that isolate student computers before they do damage to the entire campus network.

Much like hackers have used suspicious eMail messages to solicit personal information from web users, spammers are now “clickjacking” Facebook accounts and posting links to friends’ Facebook pages.

It appears to Facebook users that a friend has shared something with them—perhaps a contest to win a cruise or an Apple iPad. If they click the link, their information is stolen, and the process begins again.

For more on keeping campus networks secure, see:

How to Win the Network Security Battle

As millions have flocked to Facebook, phishing—acquiring user names and passwords by posing as a trusted friend—has shifted largely toward social media attacks.

Social networking attacks accounted for about 20 percent of all phishing scams in January 2009, according to a report from Microsoft Security Intelligence. By July, that number had risen to more than 70 percent of all phishing attempts.

About 20 percent of Facebook users have some sort of virus or malware in their profile’s news feed, according to antivirus security company BitDefender.

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