20% of Facebook users are exposed to malware

By on November 22, 2010, 9:25 PM
BitDefender recently launched a Facebook app, safego, which scans the links posted to a user's profile. It also automatically checks your privacy settings and identifies what personal information is visible to whom. So far, BitDefender has found that about one in five Facebook users have some sort of malware in their news feeds. "Since its launch (almost a month ago), BitDefender safego scanned 17 million Facebook posts and it has detected infections on the news feeds of around 20% of its users," reads a post on the app's wall.

BitDefender decided to analyze Safego's data, which consists of news feed items viewed by the 14,000 Facebook users who have installed the app. It's hard to say how accurate the 20 percent number is: on the one hand, those who install the app could be more security-minded, while at the same time, there are definitely those who think they are infected and thus want to verify their suspicions. It's thus unclear if the number is actually lower or higher given that Facebook has a population of over 500 million users.

"Over 60 percent of attacks come from notifications from malicious third-party applications on Facebook's developer platform, the study found," according to CNET. "Within that, the most popular subset of "attack apps" (21.5% of total kinds of malware) were those that claim to perform a function that Facebook normally prohibits, like seeing who has viewed your profile and who has "unfriended" you. 15.4% lure in users with bonus items for Facebook games like free items in FarmVille; 11.2% offer bonus (yet bogus) Facebook features like free backgrounds and "dislike buttons," 7.1% promise new versions of well-known gaming titles like World of Warcraft; 5.4% claim to give away free cell phones; and 1.3% claim to offer a way to watch movies for free online."

As Facebook continues to grow, it will be used as a security attack vector more and more often. The social networking company needs to step up its game to protect its users. Furthermore, Facebook plans on taking on traditional e-mail with its own twist, a Social Inbox; as the feature gains in popularity, users are going to need to be even more weary of malware spreading across their personal social network.


Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.