Facebook Becomes A Favorite Target Of Phishers

Due to widespread concerns about its thoughts on users’ privacy, Facebook has been under all sorts of fire lately, facing criticism from U.S. senators, European data protection authorities, and many tech experts. Now, yet another problem’s cropped up, as Facebook’s been called a top target of phishers.

The Securelist division of Kaspersky Labs issued a report in 2010 , and the identities of the top three organisations that have been targeted by phishers may not come as a surprise to anyone; they’re PayPal (with 52.2 percent of all attacks aimed at it), eBay (with 13.3 percent), and HSBC (with 7.8 percent).

The report, which covered the period between January and March of 2010, next stated, though, “Facebook popped up unexpectedly in fourth place. This was the first time since we started monitoring that attacks on a social networking site have been so prolific.”

By way of explanation, the report then continued, “Having stolen users’ accounts, the fraudsters can then use them to distribute spam, sending bulk emails to the account owners and their friends in the network. This method of distributing spam allows huge audiences to be reached. Additionally, it lets the fraudsters take advantage of the social networking sites’ additional options, like being able to send different requests, links to photo’s and invitations, all with the advertisement attached, both within the network and to users’ inboxes.”

Obviously, this isn’t good news for Facebook’s users or the security community as a whole. Facebook acts as a sort of point of entry to information about a whole lot of people (the social network had 400 million users in early February 2010).

This isn’t good news for Facebook, either, though – nothing that makes its users uncomfortable or unhappy, and therefore likely to leave, is – so perhaps we’ll at least see the company make some attempt(s) to address this problem.

Anyway, if you’re curious, the list of phishers’ targets picked up after Facebook with Google, the IRS, Rapidshare, Bank of America, UBI, and Bradesco.

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