Facebook messaging poses risks for users: watchdog

Nov 18, 2010
Facebook's new online messaging service makes users of the social networking site more vulnerable to identity theft by cybercriminals, computer security firm Sophos warned Thursday.

Facebook's new online messaging service makes users of the social networking site more vulnerable to identity theft by cybercriminals, computer security firm Sophos warned Thursday.

It urged users to be aware of the security risks before signing up for Facebook's next-generation online that blends online chat, text messages and other real-time conversation tools with traditional email.

"Users need to realise that these new features increase the attack surface on the platform, and make personal accounts all the more alluring for cybercriminals to break into," said Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley.

"Facebook accounts will now be linked with many more people in the users' social circles -- opening up new opportunities for identity fraudsters to launch attacks," he added in a press statement.

Sophos noted that fraudsters are increasingly using hacked Facebook accounts to send spam messages -- compared with traditional emails -- because they are more likely to be opened by recipients lured to think the messages came from friends.

"Users also need to be aware that Facebook will be storing a complete archive of all their communications with one person. This raises concerns as to how this data could be misused if it fell into the wrong hands," Cluley said.

"With this in mind, it will be critical for Facebook to implement more effective filtering mechanisms to prevent fraudsters from manipulating Facebook users into falling victim to new spams, scams and phishing attacks."

Sophos called on Facebook users to take greater vigilance in securing their accounts, including installing hard-to-crack passwords, updating their computer security systems and being careful about which applications link to their profiles.

Facebook's new was launched on Monday and includes facebook.com email addresses.

Referred to inside the Palo Alto, California-based firm as "Titan," the service will be slowly rolled out in coming months to users.

Approximately 350 million of Facebook's more than 500 million members fire off messages using its existing service, with more than four billion digital missives sent daily, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said.

Market watchers say that with such a large user base, a free personalised facebook.com email service lays down a powerful challenge to the established email giants -- Microsoft's Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Google's Gmail.

Explore further: UK: Former reporter sentenced for phone hacking

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook users warned of 'likejacking' scam

Jun 01, 2010

Internet security firm Sophos has warned Facebook users to be on the alert for a scam which sends a spam message to all of their friends on the social network.

Facebook fights 'phishing' scam

May 01, 2009

Facebook Thursday said it has blocked a link at the heart of a "phishing" scam being used to dupe members into revealing passwords to accounts at the social networking website.

Recommended for you

Study shows role of media in sharing life events

3 hours ago

To share is human. And the means to share personal news—good and bad—have exploded over the last decade, particularly social media and texting. But until now, all research about what is known as "social sharing," or the ...

UK: Former reporter sentenced for phone hacking

10 hours ago

(AP)—A former British tabloid reporter was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence Thursday for his role in the long-running phone hacking scandal that shook Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

Evaluating system security by analyzing spam volume

10 hours ago

The Center for Research on Electronic Commerce (CREC) at The University of Texas at Austin is working to protect consumer data by using a company's spam volume to evaluate its security vulnerability through the SpamRankings.net ...

Surveillance a part of everyday life

11 hours ago

Details of casual conversations and a comprehensive store of 'deleted' information were just some of what Victoria University of Wellington students found during a project to uncover what records companies ...

European Central Bank hit by data theft

12 hours ago

(AP)—The European Central Bank said Thursday that email addresses and other contact information have been stolen from a database that serves its public website, though it stressed that no internal systems or market-sensitive ...

Twitter admits to diversity problem in workforce

14 hours ago

(AP)—Twitter acknowledged Wednesday that it has been hiring too many white and Asian men to fill high-paying technology jobs, just like several other major companies in Silicon Valley.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Aloken
not rated yet Nov 18, 2010
"This raises concerns as to how this data could be misused if it fell into the wrong hands"

That assuming there is such a thing as the 'right hands'