A study of malicious attacks on Facebook

Maria Patricia M. Revilla Commtouch
Robert Sandilands Commtouch

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Social networking sites have, beyond doubt, made it into today's popular culture. They have apparently become the primary resource for the masses when it comes to socializing for the sole reason that they generally measure up to what the modern populace claim to demand - something fast, easy and accessible. Facebook is a perfect example.

Facebook has become undeniably popular. With 600 million users to date, it could considerably be the most widely used social networking site in the last decade. People patronize Facebook for its simple, but rather functional features, which range from public messaging through wall posts and private messaging, to sharing photos, videos and URL links, to gaming, and even popularization and advertisements. It even makes a good online outlet for thoughts in the form of 'status updates' which can be changed as often as one wishes.

With its popularity and effectiveness, Facebook has also become a hot spot for attackers. Over the years, social engineering has been reported to effectively spread malware which are hard to prevent especially granted that they are designed to trick the human thinking.

Having stated these facts, this paper will seek to study the social engineering attacks that have been identified to spread malware through Facebook. By tracking down the distribution methods/mechanisms for spreading malware, and the current preventive and defensive measures, this paper aims to give an insight on what challenges are being faced in terms of protecting users.


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