Cyber criminals to target social networks, mobile devices: Security Report

April 6th, 2011 - 12:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Facebook London, Apr 6 (ANI): Mobile devices and social networking sites are likely to become the next target of cyber criminals, claims Symantec in an Internet security report.

Symantec’s annual threat analysis warns the technologies are increasingly being used to spread malicious code.

Users of Facebook, Twitter and Google’s mobile operating system, Android, are said to be particularly vulnerable.

However, the number of attacks remains small compared to other online crimes such as e-mail phishing, The BBC reports.

Symantec reports revealed known vulnerabilities in mobile operating systems have increased from 115 in 2009 to 163 in 2010.

In several cases, the security holes are exploited and used to install harmful software on Android handsets, which suggest that criminals now view smartphone hacking as a potentially lucrative area.

On Facebook and Twitter, Symantec’s analysis highlighted different types of threat.

The most prevalent were web links that encourage users to click through to other sites containing malware and rogue applications, designed to collect personal information.

The company estimates that one in six links posted on Facebook pages are connected to malicious software.

User information is said to be particularly valuable in “social engineering” attacks, where criminals use knowledge of an individual to trick them into scams that appear to relate to them personally.

The report also raises concerns about shortened URLs. Such systems are widely used to shorten web addresses, but they also make it harder to tell what the target site is.

Sixty-five percent of malware links on social networking websites were found to use shortened URLs. (ANI)

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