By Tony Larks, Vice President, Global Consumer Marketing, Trend Micro
With an estimated valuation of $100 billion and a loyal membership of nearly 900 million subscribers worldwide, Facebook has also been forced to grow up fast.
Back in 2004, when Zuckerberg was conjuring up the social network in his Harvard dorm room, the threat landscape was undergoing a rather unpleasant evolution. Spyware and phishing attacks were just beginning to make an impact as these attacks by organized cybercrime gangs were replacing the more innocent efforts of script kiddies as the biggest online threats.
Criminals brought a whole new level of ruthlessness
These botnet-driven, financially-motivated attacks took many by surprise as the criminals brought a whole new level of ruthlessness and intensity to the front line of information security. They exploited weaknesses in technology and users’ own willingness to trust online what they probably wouldn’t in the “real world.” And exploiting people’s trust is still going on.
Malicious links are a common tactic used to trick people into visiting sites that could steal their data or lead to the downloading malicious software that takes control of their PCs. The unsolicited link may arrive from a “friend” on the site, or use some other kind of social engineering technique to persuade the user to click on it. It could claim to lead to a funny video or shocking piece of content. Making matters worst is that the link is often shortened to disguise the ultimate location.
As with any criminal endeavour, the bad guys are basically driven by the same economic forces as any legitimate business. They follow the money, looking for the highest return on investment for the least amount of effort.
Not so long ago, Apple Mac users were relatively safe from harm as there were so few of them around globally, it just wasn’t worth the criminal’s effort to invest in attacking them. However, thanks to Microsoft upping the security of its own platforms and the Apple’s iOS platforms increasing popularity, criminals have begun to target its’ users too.
Similarly, Facebook has rightly realized that its single web-based platform with a huge captive user base of nearly 900 million represents a very attractive target for cybercriminals. The other key factor is that people love social networking because it is a way of sharing personal details and experiences with friends and family. Unfortunately, those details could be harvested by criminals if users aren’t vigilant. Fraudsters are also focused on exploiting Facebook members’ natural inclination to trust others on the site.
So it’s great news that Trend Micro has partnered with Facebook. With the world’s favorite social network using Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ cloud-based security, Facebook users are protected. Threats are stopped before they have a chance to reach your machines.
The Smart Protection Network is business-grade security that analyzes the content of each link in the cloud and blocks anything that looks suspicious or matches with known threats in our databases.
Trend Micro is also giving Facebook users a free six-month trial of our Titanium security product that’s powered by this same leading threat prevention technology.
Yes, things have changed a lot since 2004, but wherever there are large sums of money to be made, there will be criminals going after it. As leaders in web reputation and Internet security, we’re looking forward to helping protect you and other Facebook users from the bad stuff online.
Tony Larks works for Trend Micro and is guest blogging for the Fearless Web. The opinions expressed here are his own.