Security Report: Beware Facebook 'News' Feeds

Dennis Faas's picture

Security firm BitDefender suggests that one in five users using its 'safego' product have been exposed to malicious threats through Facebook. The report reinforces the position held by many industry experts that Facebook needs to do more to protect its users from privacy or security threats.

Safego is a BitDefender security product specially designed for frequent social networking users. It is built to detect malware and prevent users from getting spammed because they use these sites. (Source:

Safego is in its beta stages, and BitDefender is thoroughly analyzing the tool before its wider release to the public. The recent study of safego users on Facebook is part of an effort to find out just how dangerous the world's most popular social networking site really is, but critics of the report will also note that its findings will certainly help move more safego units.

Malicious Facebook Posts, Apps Rampant Online

BitDefender studied thousands of safego users and found that approximately 22.4 per cent -- over one in five -- had been exposed to malicious posts that, if clicked upon, could have led to a system infection. (Source:

"Safego scans anything that [is] shown on your Facebook wall... At this moment, the app has been installed by almost 17,000 Facebook users and we've so far scanned more than 30,000,000 wall posts. From these 17,000 users, we found that more than 20 percent had something interesting," said Catalin Cosoi, BitDefender's head of online threats lab. (Source:

Those "interesting" finds included malicious links or third-party applications that could prove troublesome if clicked or installed.

"Most of the time, these are apps that will promise the user extra features, or different games, in order to convince you to install them," Catalin says. "Once you do, the [app]will post messages on your behalf [in order to propagate and spread similar to a computer virus] and will have access to your personal information."

Businesses Again Warned of Dangers

At the same time, security firm Webroot is pointing out just how dangerous Facebook can be for businesses who continue to allow their employees to surf the site while at work.

"One in six of those [businesses] we surveyed said a social networking site or Web 2.0 application was the source of an infection or attack, and over half of companies said their network was infected with spyware this year," said Webroot CTO Gerhard Eschelbeck.

"Every company needs to develop a policy for social networking use and should also deploy reliable Web security services for ongoing protection against zero-day threats."

Facebook, now the subject of a major motion picture and home to over 500 million users, has not yet commented on the study.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet