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Prevent malware attacks on social networks: 3 tips

Social networks like Facebook are fertile territory for cyber attacks. The nature of a social network is that it connects you with other people you ostensibly know and trust—so you’re more likely to open a message or click a link without thinking twice, which is a bad idea.

The Butterfly botnet that plagued Facebook earlier this year infected an estimated 11 million PCs and raked in roughly $ 850 million in ill-gotten gains. Facebook was instrumental in working with the FBI to shut down the threat, and to trace its origins to identify and arrest the perpetrators. Tal Be’ery, Web research team leader at Imperva, shares insight on the Yahos malware used to propagate the Butterfly botnet.

“The Yahos malware is reported to propagate via social engineering, and naturally it thrives in the hotbed of social networks. An infected user will send a message to all of his friends “How does this photo look?” with an attached Malware file or malware link. Users naturally trust messages they receive from friends and will follow the link and will get infected themselves and the malware will try to spread to all of their friends, ad infinitum.”

Yahos is not unique to Facebook, but with a billion registered users Facebook is a prime target for any social network-based attack. The social connections in Facebook, and the ways people share information and cutesy photos with each other make it easy prey for a social engineering attack. This wasn’t the first attack aimed at social networks, and it won’t be the last.

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