Social networking sites under attack by hackers, scammers

 Date :: 19th April 2011

The fourth month of 2011 has not yet ended and the security breaches, hacks, malware targeting social networking sites such as Facebook have affected millions of accounts. Last week, NewsCollective ran a story that warned social networking site users of not falling prey to the numerous scams and threats targeted at them by hackers and scammers.

A recent report by a leading online security firm said that more than 40 percent of social network users have fallen victims to scams or had been sent malware. Survey scams, rogue applications, clickjacking, all relatively new scams that were not heard of a few years back are now targeting users of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites on a daily basis.

The Internet is a vast source of knowledge but it is also lurking with scammers, hackers and cybercriminals who want your personal details, confidential data, and the biggest prize for them is your hard-earned money. I’m not looking to scare or make you shut down your social networking account but the truth is people who are looking to make a fast buck at your expense are out there.

Is Facebook the darling of scammers?
Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking site and is reported to have more than 600 million active users. Undoubtedly, with such a large number of active users, Facebook does seem to be the favorite hunting ground for scammers and hackers.

And it’s not just you and me who are falling prey to their malicious attacks.

Recently, the Facebook account of French President, Nicholas Sarkozy’s was hacked and an announcement that he will not contest in the 2012 French Presidential elections was posted. The Elysée presidential palace employees were quick to correct the hoax announcement and are trying to find the culprit.

But this is not the first time that President Sarkozy has been the victim of hackers. In 2008, the French police arrested 2 people for hacking into his bank account and withdrawing money. And how can you forget the fake tweet to his former wife, Cecilia at the time of his marriage to Carla Bruni that created headlines all around the globe.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and Founder of Facebook, is also not protected against attacks from hackers and spammers. Earlier this week, the Facebook fan page became the latest high profile victim of a hacker who made a posting that seemed to come from Zuckerberg’s account. The positing was against the idea of turning Facebook into a social business.

The posting was removed by Facebook staff but it had already generated 2000 replies. And the blame for the post was put on a bug with Facebook staff confirming that the problem was solved.

Social networking users should be aware of the high risks presented by rogue applications, malicious links and survey scams that are laced with malware. Hackers are most likely to target your social networking account and gain access to the account of your online friends. The sheer volume of the attacks and scams reported on social networking sites in the first month of the year itself should be an indication of the things to come.

And if social network users continue to follow lax security, the people laughing all the way to the bank with their hard-earned money will be the scammers and hackers.

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