Feeds

Second rogue Facebook app bewilders users

Poisoned mushrooms and spam

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Scoundrels have created another rogue Facebook application, the second to hit the social networking site in less than a week.

In the second attack, Facebook users receive notices that they have supposedly being reported for violation of the social networking site's terms of service by someone in their friends list. A link on the notification leads to an application called "f a c e b o o k - - closing down!!!" which, post installation, spams all the affected user’s friends with the same message.

Last weekend a similar application called Error Check System, which posed as notification of errors in a Facebook user's profile, used almost identical tricks to spread itself across Facebook.

Searches for the phrase "Error Check System" via Google and the like returned numerous results linking to sites punting rogue antivirus (aka scareware) packages. Security watchers use this factor to support the theory that black-hat search engine optimisation may have been the real motive behind the attack.

The rationale behind the latest (eerily similar) scam is unclear, with some attempt to harvest personal information or building up a database for subsequent spamming among the possibilities. The attack kicked off on Thursday, but has already spawned a Facebook group for victims.

A write-up of the attack, including screenshots, by Trend Micro can be found here.

Security watchers urge Facebook to become more active in vetting applications. "These two events in just a single week mean that it’s about time that Facebook reviews its application hosting policy," said Rik Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro. "Prevention of rogue applications with extremely dubious intent to propagate freely within the site is needed."

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, agreed. "One of the problems is that Facebook allows anybody to write an application, and third-party applications are not vetted before they are made available to the public.

"So, even as Facebook stamps out one malicious application, another can pop up like a poisoned mushroom with a different name. My advice to Facebook users is to think very carefully before adding any new applications." ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.