F-Secure: Is e-mail dead? Cybercriminals focusing on social networks
F-Secure notes that the shift from e-mail to the
instant communications provided by social networking sites means greater
vigilance is required against links and messages sent from hacked accounts.
Cybercriminals have already responded to the changing
patterns of communication by focusing more activity on popular social networks.
Cybercriminals see opportunities to make money from
hacking Facebook and other social networking accounts, where the high level of
personal trust within communities of friends provides them an ideal cover for
scams and for spreading malware.
F-Secure senior security response manager, Chia Wing
Fei says, "E-mail account addresses can be faked and people are used to
getting mails from ´unknown´ persons, so they are skeptical of links sent via
e-mail. It is often more difficult to recognise when a member of their Social
Network has been hacked. People have not yet learned to be skeptical of the
links forwarded by their ´friends´ in social networks, which can lead to
infection from malware or to websites promoting rogue products."
According to statistics from Nielsen Co., the number
of users on social networking and other community sites increased by 31% in the
period August 2008 - August 2009, while e-mail use increased by 21%. It may be
too early to pronounce that e-mail is dead but the figures do highlight a
Fei continues, "Instant communications are fun,
personal and useful but everyone should also be aware of the new security risks
involved. Links sent from hacked accounts and requests for financial help from
so-called friends are bound to increase as social networking sites become ever
Published Date : 26 November 2009
Source : F-Secure media release