New Viruses Target Social Networking Sites, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace

The New Your Times recently published an article titled Viruses That Leave Victims Red in the Facebook. The article describes a new type of virus that targets Twitter and Facebook users. The virus hijacks a user’s social networking account and then transmits spam and viruses via emails to the victim’s Twitter or Facebook contacts. What makes these attacks so effective is that they originate from trusted sources.

As social networking viruses become more ubiquitous (Kaspersky Labs says that on some days, one in 500 links on Twitter point to bad sites that can infect an inadequately protected computer with typical viruses) it is important to be cautious. Do not click on suspicious links you receive from friends on social networking sites. If your social network account password is too simple, a fraudster can use techniques to take over the account (also known as hijacking) and send email messages to everyone in their friends list or address book. Follow these simple password security rules:

  • Don’t use a real word that can be looked up in a dictionary or a familiar pattern such as 12345.
  • Use a combination of letters numbers and special characters that can’t be connected back to any of your personal information.
  • Use upper and lower case letters and number combinations.
  • Password lengths should be 8 characters or greater.
  • Change passwords regularly.
  • Do not use the same password for all online accounts.

If you suspect a friend’s account has been compromised, do not access any suspect messages. Contact your friend directly and notifying them of the problem.