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News

Protection from rogue applications on Facebook

Sophos : 24 February, 2009  (Technical Article)
Sophos is warning users of Facebook against using rogue applications that generate problems and bogus messages
IT security and control firm Sophos is reminding Facebook users to exercise caution about which third-party applications they install on their profile. The warning follows reports that a rogue application, called 'Error Check System' has bombarded some members of the social networking site with bogus notification messages saying that friends had experienced problems viewing their profiles.

Sophos experts note that since Facebook does not approve applications before they are made available on the site, users are often putting their trust in complete strangers when they choose to install the next application. In this instance, there was nothing wrong with the recipient's profiles and the warning messages were in fact a viral attempt by a third party to recruit more users, and - potentially - steal personal information for financial gain.

'Facebook applications are very popular and once all your friends have downloaded the latest must-have, it's very tempting to follow suit,' said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. 'But, installing all applications sent your way, could open up serious holes in your security and allow hackers to gain access to your profile and the information stored on it. Just like with other computing applications, it's essential to exercise caution when you're not sure of the origin - just because your friends have downloaded it, doesn't necessarily mean it's safe.'

Sophos has produced Facebook best practice guidelines that offer advice on how to secure your online profile.
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