Cyber crooks riding social-networking wave: report

Aug 17, 2009
Customers browse the Internet on August 11, 2009 at a cybercafe in Ivory Coast, Abidjan, which has become a leader in cybercrime. A hacking incident report released Monday warns there has been a steep rise in attacks at social-networking hotspots including wildly popular microblogging service Twitter.

A hacking incident report released Monday warns there has been a steep rise in attacks at social-networking hotspots including wildly popular microblogging service Twitter.

Hackers aren't just hunting for victims in the flocks of people at social networks, they're also using Twitter to command "botnet" armies of infected computers, according to specialists.

"Any website with a huge user following is now attracting the bad guys," said Ryan Barnett, director of application security research for Breach Security.

"A lot of Web 2.0 widgets, mashups and the like that users go for make it easy for all these guys to launch attacks."

Facebook became an Internet star after opening its platform to , mini-applications made by outside developers, and now boasts more than 250 million members.

Barnett was among the authors of a Web Hacking Incidents Database Bi-Annual Report that concluded was the most popular "vertical market" for hackers in the first six months of this year.

The prime targets for attacks in 2008 were government and law enforcement websites, according to the Web Hacking Incidents Database.

Researchers analyzed computer security incidents worldwide, finding the number of attacks jumped 30 percent from the same period last year. Hackers targeted social networks in 19 percent of the attacks, according to the report.

"If you look back at 2007 and 2008 reports, criminals who are profit-driven with an end goal of identity theft were targeting e-commerce websites," Barnett said.

"What we started to see last year is that they are continuing to do that but that they have really branched out."

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Expanding the breadth and impact of cybersecurity and privacy research

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cyber-crooks targeting social-networking websites

Mar 03, 2009

Computer security specialists warn that Facebook users have been hit with a series of data-stealing attacks in the past week as cyber crooks increasingly stalk social-networking websites.

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.

'Google hacking' attacks rising

May 22, 2006

Web sites are more vulnerable to “Google hacking” than many people realise and “hacking” attacks are on the rise, according to a recent study by Massey University (New Zealand) researchers. Personal ...

Recommended for you

US warns retailers on data-stealing malware

2 hours ago

US government cybersecurity watchdogs warned retailers Thursday about malware being circulated that allows hackers to get into computer networks and steal customer data.

Irish bookmaker apologizes for 2010 data breach

2 hours ago

(AP)—Irish betting company Paddy Power announced Thursday it is notifying hundreds of thousands of customers that most of their profile information was stolen in 2010, but hackers did not gain their credit card details ...

Misinformation diffusing online

5 hours ago

The spread of misinformation through online social networks is becoming an increasingly worrying problem. Researchers in India have now modeled how such fictions and diffuse through those networks. They described details ...

User comments : 0