Students battle Facebook malware with security app

Facebook accounts for about 5 percent of all phishing attacks.

An application designed by a University of California Riverside student duo has a built-in customer base: the thousands of Facebook members whose accounts are littered with spam and malware every day, along with college IT directors afraid those hacker postings will harm the campus’s network.

Even the most vigilant Facebook members can miss malware posted to their account when hackers use stolen user names and passwords to spread harmful links using enticing deals like free Apple iPads or Southwest Airlines flights, or advertising supposed video of Osama Bin Laden’s death.

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MyPageKeeper, created by UC Riverside Ph.D. students Ting-Kai Huang  and Sazzadur Rahman, once downloaded, scans a Facebook user’s news feed for potential spam and phishing attempts and sends warnings detailing security compromises.

This not only safeguards the user’s Facebook account, but also the accounts of his or her friends who might click on fraudulent links that launch covert attacks against personal computers when clicked.

MyPageKeeper has been downloaded by more than 3,000 Facebook account holders since its beta version launch in mid-June.

“We have to leverage the power of the people to counteract the high-tech intelligence of the hackers,” said Michalis Faloutsos, a professor of computer science and engineering at UC Riverside and creator of, a site offering a host of anti-malware programs. “Otherwise, things could be very difficult” for college students and others who log onto Facebook several times a day.

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