Feeds

Twitter, Facebook urged to improve security

'Vulnerable' defined in less than 140 characters

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become feeding grounds for cybercrime.

A threat report by net security firm Sophos warns that Web 2.0 companies are too focused at growing their user bases, at the possible expense of paying attention towards defending their existing customers from internet risks.

Sophos reckons a quarter of organisations have been exposed to spam, phishing or malware attacks via sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace.

"Web 2.0 companies need to examine their systems and determine how, now they have gathered a huge number of members, they are going to protect them from virus writers, identity thieves, spammers and scammers," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "The honeymoon period of these sites is over, and personally identifiable information is at risk as a result of constant attacks that the websites are simply not mature enough to protect against."

Cluley told El Reg that Twitter and Facebook ought to scan for links to sites hosting malware or promoted via spam messages. Both sites also ought to force users to use stronger (harder to guess) passwords and do more to prevent cross-site scripting attacks, he added.

Figures from Sophos also point to the growth in scareware scams, where users are tricked into buying rogue security packages of little or no utility on the basis of false security scans. Sophos picked up an average of fifteen such scareware sites per day during the first half of 2009, a three-fold increase over the same period last year.

Sophos now catalogues 22.5 million different samples of malware, almost double the level it recorded in June 2008. Around 40,000 new suspicious files are examined by security analysts at Sophos every day.

The firm discovers an infected webpage once every 3.6 seconds, on average, four times faster than in the first half of 2008. Two years ago, 50 per cent of all web-based malware was hosted in China. This figure dropped to just 14.7 per cent in the first half of this year, with the USA eclipsing China as the biggest single locus of drive-by-download threats (39.6 per cent).

Compromised US computers also make the single greatest contribution to spam (15.7 per cent), which cumulatively makes up nine in 10 (89.7 per cent) of all business email. The latest edition of Sophos's Security Threat Report can be found here (registration required). A summary can be found here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?