The popular social networking site Facebook has been targeted with yet another phishing scam, Reuters reports. Facebook spokesperson Barry Schnitt told the news service that hackers broke into the site and began gathering passwords from users' accounts, but the company was working to block affected accounts.
A Facebook spokesperson told The New York Times the damage "is not widespread and is only impacting a small fraction of a percent of users." This time the scam appears to be targeting the personal information found on Facebook users' account in order to aid identity theft.
Michael Argast, an analyst with Boston-based security software maker Sophos, told the Times there has been a definite increase in attacks on the site in the last month. "As the user community grows, the criminal community sees an opportunity to make money," Argast told the paper.
Facebook posted a blog post written by an incident response manager on the security team at Facebook alerting users to the problem and offering help on how to avoid the scam, which tricks users into visiting a fake Web page designed to look like Facebook pages. Reuters reported the fake domains include www.151.im, www.121.im and www.123.im.
Recommendations include using an up-to-date browser like Firefox 3.0.10 or Internet Explorer 8 that features an anti-phishing black lists, using unique logins and passwords for each of the Websites users visit, checking to see that users are logging in from a legitimate Facebook page and being cautious of any message, post or link you find on Facebook that looks suspicious or requires an additional login.
On Thursday, software security specialist PandaLabs reported the discovery of Boface worm variant No. 56, called the Boface.BJ.worm, which tricks users into purchasing a fake anti-virus application after convincing them to download and install malware via Facebook. About 1 percent of all computers scanned by the Panda ActiveScan online scanner have been infected with Boface since August 2008.
Earlier in May, Facebook was the target of two phishing scams, but the company was able to shut down the two malicious links at the core of the attack. Facebook, which claims 200 million users, said the phishing scam tricked users into clicking on a link in the messages in-box that took them to a false Facebook Website where cyber-criminals were able to access their login information.
In the wake of the attacks, Facebook and brand protection company MarkMonitor announced that Facebook is using MarkMonitor's AntiFraud Solutions to supplement Facebook's own in-house security efforts in protecting users against malware attacks. Facebook, which already uses MarkMonitor AntiFraud Solutions to help combat phishing attacks, said it is expanding its use of MarkMonitor to further protect Facebook and its users from ongoing malware attacks.
According to MarkMonitor, social networking powerhouses like Facebook are often prime targets for malware attacks due to the brand's strong appeal, which can be used to trick users into being infected and offers the ability to use the communication platform as a distribution channel.