Monday, January 10, 2011

Facebook And Twitter Were The Most Unsafe Social Networking Sites In 2010

While many of us are rejoicing over the ways Facebook and Twitter have changed the way we connect to our friends and acquaintances, there is a lurking danger of we possibly losing some of our valuable information or assets sooner than later. Internet Security major PandaLabs in its 2010 Annual Security Report has revealed that Facebook and Twitter were the most unsafe social networking sites last year. In fact, every social networking site became a victim of the wrath of privacy in 2010. Just as social media booms, privacy breaches also increase manifold.

PandaLabs has said that social media sites are the perfect working environment from cyber criminals since most of the internet users have more trust on these sites than on traditional online sites and tools such as chats and emails. Its report revealed that apart from Facebook and Twitter, others like LinkedIn and Fotolog have also been affected. Some of the several techniques that the cyber criminals employ to hack Facebook and Twitter include hickjacking Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, stealing identities to send out messages from trusted sources, exploiting vulnerabilities in Twitter to run javascript code and distributing fake apps that redirect users to infected sites, among others.
The report also highlighted the fact that last year cyber criminals have created and distributed 1/3rd of all existing viruses. That means they created about 34 % of all the malware that has ever existed. Trojans rule the roost with 56% followed by viruses and worms at 22% and 10% respectively. Spams have also been a main threat with 85% of email traffic globally being them.

Thailand, China and Taiwan are the most affected countries with 60 to 70 percent of infected computers and the infection methods include exploiting social media, positioning of fake websites and zero-day vulnerabilities.

PandaLabs also warned users of what to come in 2011. The report said, “In 2011, not only will hackers continue to use these networks, but it is predicted that they will also be used more for distributed attacks.” Apart from this, it added that there would be more of blended threats this year that would occur when a possible cyber attack strikes first through email and then reaches social media and the internet as a whole.

Proofpoint Inc., an Internet security company, also predicted that at least one social media site will come across a major security breach in 2011 based on the fact that about 23% of the time spent by Americans is spent on social media sites.

PC World, in its report, also said that Facebook, Twitter and iPhone apps are one of top security threats. With ample apps available for these, users have no qualms in granting them access to their important and sensitive information. This facilitates cyber criminals to have a gala time creating nuisances to the users. Another report by Security Week also indicated that one third of small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) experienced a malware or virus infection via social networks through July 2010.

In 2010, there were numerous cyber crimes that are doing round of India including the infamous online lottery scams, phishing attacks on banking and e-commerce websites. It has also experienced Facebook related crimes. In 2009, a New Delhi youth morphed the pictures of two air hostesses into something obscene and posted them on Facebook. Though the victims were able to get them down, this whole exercise was something bad and unsolicited. In 2007, a lady software engineer was shot dead in Mumbai. She met the accused through one of the popular social networking sites.In all, there is an acute need to stem all the social networking sites related crimes and cyber crimes as a whole in the country.

Thus it can be inferred that Facebook and Twitter, the coolest places on internet to hang around today are invariably not the safest ones. If users are to stay safe and happy, they should take extra care and think twice before clicking on any links from unknown sources. And these popular, yet vulnerable social media sites should be well prepared of any of cyber attacks that may cause the users and themselves to lose so many important assets. It’s probably the best time to stay alerted while being connected.

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