Facebook Phishing Attacks Set to Explode in 2010


Under the fairly foreboding heading of ‘Tsunami of spam ahead as Facebook targeted’, The Times have an interesting report today on how social networks will be relentlessly targets by cyber criminals over the coming year.

It does exactly what it says on the tin… (sorry)

This is all on the back of a Cisco media release that makes the claim that worldwide spam levels may mushroom by up to 40% compared to last year with spam now regarded as a “multi-million dollar industry”. Phishing scams are rated as the greatest threat and the article makes note of how phishing comes “mostly in the guise of e-mails from banks and financial institutions but recently spammers have hooked onto social networks”. It adds, “Users of Facebook, which has 350 million members worldwide, are much more likely to respond to messages that appear to come from friends”.

This should ring a bell for anyone who’s got a message from a friend on Facebook recently under a heading like ‘Wow’, ‘You’ love this’, ‘I saw your pic on here’ or something else of that ilk. The message will most likely come with a link that seems to go nowhere but could in fact be a phishing attack.  Facebook is the second most phished organisation online and, if current trends continue, is on track to take the top spot in 2010, according to a report from a voluntary community of web defenders called Project Honey Pot.

The Times report that Matthew Prince, co-creator of Project Honey Pot and a professor of cyberlaw at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, said recently: “Spammers are trying to establish trust and they see Facebook as the way in”. Meanwhile, a further report, this time from security giant McAfee stated that, “The explosion of applications on Facebook and other services will be an ideal vector for cyber criminals, who will take advantage of friends trusting friends to click links they might otherwise treat cautiously.”


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5 Responses to “Facebook Phishing Attacks Set to Explode in 2010”

  1. Kevin Says:

    Peoples willingness to install third-party apps to their profile on Facebook has proven to be an attractive haven for phishing scams. I consider the likes of fishville and farmville similar scams as it’s too easy to get unsuspecting parents to buy things for their kids through those games, assuming they’re purchasing products from facebook itself. It’s just too easy to scam, and developers are also more then aware that this is a goldmine waiting to explode as Facebook has also proven unwilling to properly and effectively deal with such issues.

    • komplettie Says:

      Indeed, in the US, the company behind a lot of Facebook games that use microtransactions came under scrutiny for absolutely destroying people with mobile bills… scams indeed.

  2. jjkomplett Says:

    Good points lads, you’d hope there could be some sort of response from facebook themselves on this to make things safer. Oh and some nifty photos of the recent snow on your blog too Kevin, good work.

  3. Karel Says:

    “… take advantage of friends trusting friends to click links they might otherwise treat cautiously.”

    I just fell for that myself last night, even though I’m usually a cautious and aware guy when it comes to such matters.

    I don’t think that microtransactions are a bad phenomenon at all. As with all things, moderation and self control are the key.

    • komplettie Says:

      The issue in that case was that users opted in for microtransactions and later found that they’d been signed up for rapacious subscriptions they neither wanted nor could find a way to easily unsubscribe from… :/

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