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Facebook and Android under increased security threats

facebook spamNoticed an increase in sleazy posts by your Facebook friends? A new report reveals their lewd natures aren’t entirely to blame. According to AVG Technologies, Facebook users have been subjected to a huge increase in PUS (potentially unwanted sites) over the last 12 months.

“These sites typically lure victims by pretending to offer ‘seedy’ or perhaps morbid video with titles such as ‘OMG, you won’t believe what this teen did on camera’ or ‘OMG, you won’t believe what this teacher did to his student.’” Sure, you might think that anyone gullible enough to click on one of these links and complete the ensuring survey that requests far too much information deserves the consequences. But you should still be aware of the threat, especially if you have younger kids using the site.

And of course it doesn’t only hijack the victim’s information, it then reposts the link through his profile and lets it virally spread through Facebook. Attacks of this nature are on the rise: Last year, this type of malware would infest Facebook an average of once a week and take down 200k-300k users. Now, these things are attacking the site nearly every other day. Facebook is also responsible for 1.76 percent of spam messages in the first quarter of 2011.

Why is it getting easier and more prevalent? AVG rationalizes that the trust that comes with your social network doesn’t help, and that the increase in applications and people installing them is also a major source of malware on the site.

But Facebook isn’t alone: Android has also experienced a rash of security threats lately. The huge jump since the last half of 2010 makes sense, considering the swift rise in the OS’ rank. Unfortunately, malware targeting the Android platform has outpaced even its popularity with consumers. AVG believes that phones, like Facebook, also provide a “false sense of security,” making the process even easier for cybercriminals. That, along with Android’s open source platform “provides fertile ground for hackers and cyber criminals.” How can you protect yourself? Start by remembering that the thing in your pocket or purse really is a computer and can be subject to the same threats.

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