Feeds

Google Reader Koobface spotlights security risk 2.0

Threat-resistant workers bypass Web 2.0 roadblocks

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The rising use of social networking and collaboration apps on corporate networks has spawned increased security risks beyond potential productivity losses, firewall vendor Palo Alto warns. The warning coincides with the appearance of a variant of the Koobface worm linked to Google Reader accounts controlled by hackers.

Aside from acknowledged business benefits, Web 2.0 applications can transfer files, propagate malware, and have known security flaws that might be exploited by hackers. Despite many enterprises' attempts to block applications like Facebook and Twitter, the rate at which they are making the crossover from personal to business use is occurring faster than occurred during previous cross-over such as the enterprise debut of instant message technologies, according to a study by Palo Alto.

Palo Alto's semi-annual analysis of application usage on enterprise networks covered more than 200 organisations worldwide. The latest survey identified 255 Enterprise 2.0 applications - of which 70 per cent might be used for file transfer, 64 per cent have known vulnerabilities, 28 per cent are known to propagate malware, and 16 per cent can tunnel other applications - in a total of 651 unique applications.

The survey discovered 27 different social networking applications in all. Nearly all (95 per cent) of the participating organizations had some sort of social networking activity going on.

Asked to comment on whether enterprise attempts to block access to Web 2.0 sites were actually working, a Palo Alto spokesman said users have found ways around such restriction using tools such as Tor and other techniques.

"Anecdotally, we know that employees who want to use these apps will figure out a way to do so. Proxies, encrypted tunnels, remote desktop access - all are known to be used by employees to do what they want," he said.

Examples of threats brought into enterprise networks by social networking applications include the infamous Koobface worm, which is designed to hijack accounts and personal data after taking over Facebook profiles.

As part of a new Koobface attack, links to Google Reader URLs controlled by cybercrooks are being spammed by Koobface onto social network sites, including Facebook and MySpace. The hundreds of Google accounts involved host a page with a fake YouTube video. Attempts to view this supposed video expose Windows users to infection by Koobface.

The attack follows an attempt last week to spread the Zeus bank trojan via Facebook phishing scam emails. The spoofed Facebook login page linked to the scam also attempts to download malware onto the machines of visiting surfers, security firm Red Condor warns.

Malware can also spread through P2P applications. One example is Mariposa, a botnet client that spreads through either one of nine P2P networks or MSN instant messages. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New twist as rogue antivirus enters death throes
That's not the website you're looking for
ISIS terror fanatics invade Diaspora after Twitter blockade
Nothing we can do to stop them, says decentralized network
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.