Sophos Urges Facebook to Raise Security Bar for Applications

Facebook was called upon to toughen up its approval regime for third-party apps this week, after more concerns about the vulnerability of social networks to spam and malware attacks.

Internet security company Sophos said that far more vetting is required for applications before they go live on the Facebook site. Some even made pithy criticisms concerning the social networking phenomenon’s security standards.

Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley said: “Rogue applications, clickjacking, survey scams – all unheard of just a couple of years ago – are now popping up on a daily basis on social networks such as Facebook.”

“Why aren’t Facebook and other social networks doing more to prevent spam and scams in the first place? People need to be very careful they don’t end up being conned for their personal details, or get tricked into clicking on links that could earn money for cybercriminals or infect innocent computers.”

The latest annual Security Threat Report from Sophos found that 67 per cent of social network users received spam last year, while 40 per cent received spam containing malware in 2010, a shocking 90 per cent increase since the middle of the previous year. A further 43 per cent had faced phishing attempts while logged on to Facebook and similar sites – more than twice the number recorded in 2022.

“Spammers have turned to social networks as their security walls are nowhere near as good as email services,” Mr Cluley said. ”Plus cyber criminals experience greater deals of success on social networks, because people trust spam more when it comes from a ‘friend’ and end up following links and spending more money than they do when emailed spam.”

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