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Social Media Malware, Spam Up 70%


The number of business reporting malware and spam attacks by cybercriminals on popular social networks rose sharply during 2009, posing a risk to users and the companies they work for, according to a report from Sophos.

Below, other findings from the Sophos Security Threat Report: 2010.

Spam attacks via social networking sites increased sharply during the year, with 57.0% of companies reporting such spam in December 2009, up 70.6% from the 33.4% reported in April 2009.

Meanwhile, 36.0% of companies reported malware attacks via social networking sites in December 2009, up 69.8% from the 21.2% reported in April.

Companies say social media use puts corporate infrastructures—and the data stored upon them—at risk: Nearly three out of four businesses (72%) say they are concerned that employee behavior on social networks exposes their businesses to danger, compared with 66% who said so in April.

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Among social networking sites believed to pose the greatest security risk, 61% of companies cite Facebook, followed by MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, nearly half of companies (49%) still permit unfettered access to Facebook, a 13% increase from the previous study.

"We shouldn't forget that Facebook is by far the largest social network—and you'll find more bad apples in the biggest orchard," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "The truth is that the security team at Facebook works hard to counter threats on their site––it's just that policing 350 million users can't be an easy job for anyone."

About the data: The 2010 Security Threat Report was conducted by Sophos, which surveyed over 500 organizations in December 2009.

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