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Symantec Threat Bulletin: Phishing Attacks on Social Networking Sites

Symantec announces new wave of targeted phishing attacks
  • 15 December, 2009 10:19

<p>Symantec Threat Bulletin: Phishing Attacks on Social Networking Sites</p>
<p>Over the past year, the popularity of applications on social networking websites has increased dramatically. This has led to a new wave of phishing attacks targeting the users of these applications, promoting attractive offers to lure potential victims. Symantec’s Security Response Team has been monitoring these attacks and has identified some of the applications the phishing sites are based on. These include:</p>
<p>1. Social networking on mobile – Due to the rise in the number of users accessing the Internet through smart phones, social networking websites have expanded their services on smart phones, including messaging, chatting, photo viewing, etc. This increase in users has opened more doors to attackers because there are now more potential victims. Hence, attackers have created phishing websites on social networking brands claiming to provide these services on smart phones.</p>
<p>2. Live chat – In November, Symantec observed that five percent of the targeted applications were on live chat, and among them adult sex chat was the most common target. The phishing attacks show fake offers of free sex chat to lure end users into entering confidential login credentials.</p>
<p>3. Blogging – Phishing websites that attacked blogging in social networking comprised 23 percent of all targeted applications. Various attractive blog topics are used in the login pages of the phishing site as a means of tricking end users. Pornographic material is one of the most common topics observed in these phishing attempts.</p>
<p>4. Gaming – In 2009, gaming has become an increasingly popular aspect of social networking. Symantec evaluated gaming and found that it comprised 13 percent of the targeted applications. Gaming applications in social networking generally require various kinds of credit points to progress to higher levels of the game. Some of these credit points typically require online payment. The phishing websites trick users by providing fake offers of free credit points on these gaming applications.</p>
<p>Symantec advises Internet users to follow best practices to avoid phishing attacks. Here are some basic tips:</p>
<p>• Do not click on suspicious links from emails.</p>
<p>• Check the URL of the website and make sure that it belongs to the brand.</p>
<p>• Type the domain name of your brand directly in your browser rather than following any link.</p>
<p>• Frequently update security software, such as Norton Internet Security 2010, which protects from online phishing.</p>
<p>Please let me know if you would like to speak with a Symantec security expert about this threat and what computer users can do to prevent falling victim to this attack.</p>
<p>Media Contact:</p>
<p>Almira Anthony</p>
<p>Max Australia</p>
<p>+61 2 9954 3492</p>
<p>almira.anthony@maxaustralia.com.au</p>

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