Risk
9/25/2013
01:28 PM
50%
50%

Social Spam Invades The Enterprise

Spammers increasingly dodge email spam tools by using social media, posing new risks to government and corporate enterprises, study says.

Top 10 Government IT Innovators Of 2013
Top 10 Government IT Innovators Of 2013
(click image for larger view)
Social media hasn't yet displaced email for day-to-day office communications, but it has taken on one of email's most pervasive and onerous qualities: relentless spam.

Spammers are using social media to circumvent conventional security methods that provided at least some ability to detect and quarantine unwanted email.

Just how much spam is pouring in through social media is presented in a new report on social spam from Nexgate, which has a stake in social media security.

Nexgate data scientists analyzed more than 60 million pieces of unique social content published on more than 25 million social accounts, and concluded:

-- During the first six months of 2013 there was a 355% growth of social spam.

[ Read how Google got in trouble for partnering with a texting service. Google Settles Text Spam Suit For $6 Million. ]

-- 15% of all social spam contains a URL, often to spammy content, pornography or malware.

-- One in 21 social media messages across Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter contains risky content, such as adult language, private or regulated data, or spam.

-- One in 200 social media messages contain spam, including lures to adult content and malware.

-- Facebook contains the highest number of phishing attempts and personally identifiable information; in fact, more than four times the other social media networks.

-- YouTube contains the most "risky" content -- containing profanity, threats, hate speech or insults. For every one piece of risky content found on other social media networks, there are five pieces on YouTube.

The rise of social media spam is creating a new set of issues not only for corporate and government social media managers, but also their IT security teams.

"Spam isn't just an annoyance issue for federal employees," said Justin Herman, social media lead for the General Services Administration, which helps federal agencies develop their public-facing social media strategies. "It can also be a security issue if used maliciously."

The GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, where Herman works, is already guiding and training agencies on how to handle social spam messages "as part of our larger social media management and security programs," he said. He warns users, for instance, to guard against social media posts that offer a link and read: "Did you see this tweet about you?"

GSA offers online tutorials for government social media managers, through its DigitalGov University. One tutorial, "Minimize IT Security Risks While Using Social Media," helps agencies recognize spam and its role in the broader scope of IT management. GSA also issues periodic reports that provide specific guidance on responding to social media attacks.

For commercial enterprises, social spam also represents a growing financial cost, said Devin Redmond, co-founder and CEO of Nexgate, who calls it "a significant burden to big brands" and a drain on media marketing programs.

The fact that spammers can target entire online communities in a single post, and have that post distributed to others, makes it a greater threat than conventional email spam. Social spam is also becoming more complex.

Text- and link-based spam are the most popular types, while" Like-jacking," social bots, spammy apps and fake accounts are the most prevalent forms of distribution.

"Traditional email, Web and antivirus solutions just don't work in social media," a Nexgate spokesman said.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
WKash
50%
50%
WKash,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/26/2013 | 8:48:48 PM
re: Social Spam Invades The Enterprise
On a side note, GSA's DigitalGov University is becoming a great resource for federal employees who aren't necessarily involved in their agencies social media campaigns.

Check out "Minimize IT Security Risks While Using Social Media," which helps agencies recognize spam.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5395
Published: 2014-11-21
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Huawei HiLink E3276 and E3236 TCPU before V200R002B470D13SP00C00 and WebUI before V100R007B100D03SP01C03, E5180s-22 before 21.270.21.00.00, and E586Bs-2 before 21.322.10.00.889 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of users ...

CVE-2014-7137
Published: 2014-11-21
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Dolibarr ERP/CRM before 3.6.1 allow remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) contactid parameter in an addcontact action, (2) ligne parameter in a swapstatut action, or (3) project_ref parameter to projet/tasks/contact.php; (4...

CVE-2014-7871
Published: 2014-11-21
SQL injection vulnerability in Open-Xchange (OX) AppSuite before 7.4.2-rev36 and 7.6.x before 7.6.0-rev23 allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary SQL commands via a crafted jslob API call.

CVE-2014-8090
Published: 2014-11-21
The REXML parser in Ruby 1.9.x before 1.9.3 patchlevel 551, 2.0.x before 2.0.0 patchlevel 598, and 2.1.x before 2.1.5 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (CPU and memory consumption) a crafted XML document containing an empty string in an entity that is used in a large number of nes...

CVE-2014-8469
Published: 2014-11-21
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Guests/Boots in AdminCP in Moxi9 PHPFox before 4 Beta allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the User-Agent header.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?