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Risk

7/10/2009
10:47 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
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Social Network Security: Koobface Is Back And Twitter Is Now In Its Sights

Koobface, the social networking worm that seeks to turn networkers' machines into zombies has generated more than 500 variants in the past month, according to security company Kaspersky Labs. The worm, which got its start on FaceBook and MySpace, now includes Twitter users among its targets.

Koobface, the social networking worm that seeks to turn networkers' machines into zombies has generated more than 500 variants in the past month, according to security company Kaspersky Labs. The worm, which got its start on FaceBook and MySpace, now includes Twitter users among its targets.The evolution of social network worm Koobface (rearrange the letters and you get FaceBook)is rapidly evolving, according to Kaspersky Labs.

Over the past month, Kasperky reports detection of 575 new variants of the social net worm in June, jumping the number of Koobface variations to close to 1,000.

Having gotten its start in 2008 on FaceBook and MySpace, Koobface now includes Twitter users among its targets, attempting to tempt users to click on links (in apparently legitimate invite mail) and download a worm which harvests friend and follower lists, sending out more apparently legit messages to all it finds.

Kasperky malware research Stefan Tanse notes in a statement that it's the combination of social networking's openness to making contact that attracts the worm's developers:

"This sign of increased cybercriminal activity involving social networks in the past month proves that the strategies being used by the bad guys to infect users are much more efficient when adding the social context to their attacks. June 2009 marks an important milestone in the evolution of social networking malware: the activity we've seen this month exceeds by far any other month in the past."

Time once again to spread the word to all social networkers on your staff not to trust at first (or even second or third) glance invites and contact requests that come their way, no matter how legitimate they appear, nor how familiar you are with the apparent sender.

In addition, Kaspersky recommends that social network users:

Use either Internet Explorer 8 running in protected mode or Firefox with NoScript installed.

Divulge as little personal information as possible. Do not give out your home address, phone number or other private details.

Keep your antivirus software updated to prevent new versions of malware from attacking your computer.

As scoial networking becomes more tightly integrated with effective marketing and other business activities, you can bet on even more aggressive increases in the use of the networks to deliver malware.

Kasperky's June Koobface numbers make that point dramatically, but I doubt that the record growth will remain a record for long.

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